News 03.11.20 : Today’s Articles of Interest from Around the Internets


News 03.11.20 : Today’s Articles of Interest from Around the Internets
News 03.11.20 : Today’s Articles of Interest from Around the Internets

TO BE ALIVE is to be afraid; anxiety is the spirit of this age and, substantially, of all ages. However good things have gotten, at least for those of us in Canada—however low crime and unemployment rates have become, however much war deaths have declined, life expectancy has grown, or HIV, cancer, and age-adjusted heart disease death rates have shrunk—disquiet claws at us. Financiers may advise that what they call the downside risk—the potential for loss in the worst cases—is limited, but at an existential level, we know better. Everything could just go all to hell, no matter how shiny things look. You don’t need to be a wigged-out prepper in the woods to suspect it.

Things have always gone all to hell. Over 4,000 years ago, climate change came to Mesopotamia, causing drought and a subsequent famine so severe that the world’s first empire, Akkad, simply ceased to be. Farmers abandoned their crops and many scribes just stopped writing. For archaeologists, for the next 300 years: near silence.

Read the rest of this article at: The Walrus

News 03.11.20 : Today’s Articles of Interest from Around the Internets

News 03.11.20 : Today’s Articles of Interest from Around the Internets

have always thought to myself that the version of Top Chef that I would want to watch would be chef-owners plunging a toilet, cleaning an overflowing grease trap, balancing a balance sheet, and running payroll as fast as they could — a decathlon of all the administrative bullshit,” says Irene Li, the chef and owner of Mei Mei, a Chinese-American restaurant in Boston. “And obviously, people would be bored to death by that show, but that’s what it really is.”

These days, Li spends a lot of her time thinking about what it takes to keep a restaurant like hers running. In 2016, she was the recipient of an Eater Young Gun award; she’s been a Zagat 30 Under 30 winner, and a six-time James Beard Rising Star Chef semifinalist. That said, she kind of fell into the industry and comes by her genuine enthusiasm for “all the administrative bullshit” honestly.

In the early days at Mei Mei, success was measured by having enough dumplings to get through the day and confirming that the bank account wasn’t empty. Today, every single staff member, from the dishwasher to the line cook, can interpret and speak to the restaurant’s entire profit-and-loss statement because, for two years now, Mei Mei has been opening its books to its staff. This means all staff are able to see every line item associated with money coming in the door and all of the expenses the restaurant takes on — from paying its employees to keeping the lights on. Not only that, each employee actually plays a hand in working to move the bottom line, working on teams tasked with the goal of reducing costs and increasing profits for the business. If the team wants to research and vet new vendors, they have that power. If they want to change the menu prices for a fixed period of time, they’re able to do that too.

In the three years since implementing this practice, Li says she’s seen a measurable difference. The line cook who once questioned Li about the $9 price attached to the Double Awesome menu item, an oozy egg sandwich, can now speak to all of the other costs — the things beyond the eggs, the pesto, and the scallion pancake breading — that they wouldn’t have known to consider before. Because there’s a staff member who called the electric company for refunds when the power went out, one who negotiated for better alarm fees, and another who put in the work to source a cheaper linen provider, there’s an understanding of the full picture of what goes on at the restaurant. As Li puts it, “There’s buy-in because their fingerprints are there.”

Now, it’s no longer enough for Li to share the nitty-gritty financial info with her team. She wants the public to understand it, too.

“The lack of willingness to talk about finances in this industry is holding us back,” says Li. “Culturally, we don’t talk about money at all, and my experience, even with other restaurant owners who I’m really friendly with, is that we’ll talk about all kinds of stuff. HR drama, health inspections — warts and all — but we definitely don’t talk about money. I feel like that is the last barrier that we have to break down in order to really all get on the same page and all figure out how to do a better job.”

Read the rest of this article at: Eater

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GREEN BANK, W.Va. — Viral dance memes and dance challenges on TikTok largely bypass Green Bank, W.Va. So do viral sensations like augmented reality filters on Snapchat and Instagram.

And when a Facebook fad had people all over the globe dumping ice water on their heads a few summers ago, Charity Warder, now a senior at Pocahontas County High School, was late to the game.

Sure, Charity has an iPhone, but she uses it mostly as a clock and a calculator. She makes phone calls from a landline, and she rarely texts her friends. Texting and driving? “It’s not a thing here,” she said.

When Charity wants to get online at home, she sits at her family’s desktop computer, which has a broadband connection that is so sluggish, it takes minutes to load a YouTube video.

Welcome to Green Bank, population 143, where Wi-Fi is both unavailable and banned and where cellphone signals are nonexistent.

The near radio silence is a requirement for those living close to the town’s most prominent and demanding resident, the Green Bank Observatory, home to the world’s largest fully steerable radio telescope. To protect the sensitive equipment from interference, the federal government in 1958 established the National Radio Quiet Zone, a 13,000-square-mile area near the state’s border with Virginia.

Read the rest of this article at: The New York Times

News 03.11.20 : Today’s Articles of Interest from Around the Internets

News 03.11.20 : Today’s Articles of Interest from Around the Internets

The coroner ruled it “death by misadventure.”

By the time the concierge reached James Harris last June, he was lying in the hallway outside his apartment, arms and legs shaking, gasping for air. Although an ambulance crew raced in and administered an antidote for opiate overdoses, Harris’s pulse returned only briefly. Three minutes later, the 42-year-old British trader was dead.

Harris had been troubled for months, behind on his rent, drinking and using copious amounts of cocaine in his apartment not far from London’s Buckingham Palace, witnesses said in statements read at his inquest. While searching his apartment, police found crack pipes, sedatives and a mobile phone. When they lifted his body to wheel it to the ambulance and drive it to the morgue, a second phone dropped out of the dead man’s pocket.

Mobile phones were Harris’s main work tools. The one that fell out of his pocket was one of probably dozens he had used over the years and then discarded to avoid being traced. Through calls, texts and encrypted messaging apps, Harris plugged into a loose network of day traders on two continents who cultivated sources at banks and companies to procure an edge on large deals. They exchanged secrets on corporate takeovers, profit warnings and medical trials, trading on the information to generate what prosecutors say were hundreds of millions of dollars in profit.

Since Harris’s death, more details about different parts of the network have emerged in court proceedings. A few days after he died, his friend Walid Choucair was convicted of insider trading in London. Marc Demane Debih, a Geneva-based trader arrested in Serbia and extradited to the U.S., pleaded guilty and testified in a New York court in January that he got tips from a Goldman Sachs Group Inc. banker and from other insiders via a French art dealer. Telemaque Lavidas, son of a pharmaceutical-company director who wasn’t implicated in the scheme, was convicted of leaking company secrets to one of Demane Debih’s trading partners, who prosecutors say was also part of the insider-trading network.

Read the rest of this article at: Bloomberg

News 03.11.20 : Today’s Articles of Interest from Around the Internets

A simple question at a Bernie Sanders town hall last spring sparked a debate new to prime time: Should incarcerated people be allowed to vote? Sanders said yes—his home state of Vermont (and its neighbor, Maine) are the only states to give all people in prison that right. Later, Joe Biden said no.Yet in a country awash in political polling, the views of those who are most affected remain a mystery: the 2.3 million people behind bars. Do they want to vote? If given the right, who would they vote for? What issues do they care about most? No one’s ever really asked.

This is why The Marshall Project partnered with Slate to conduct the first-of-its-kind political survey inside prisons and jails across the country. Now that criminal justice is a campaign issue and many states are restoring voting rights to those convicted of felonies, we asked thousands of incarcerated people across the country for their opinions on criminal justice reform, which political party they identify with and which presidential candidate they’d support. We heard from more than 8,000 people. Here’s what we found:
A plurality of white respondents back President Donald Trump, undercutting claims that people in prison would overwhelmingly vote for Democrats.

Long stretches in prison appear to be politicizing: The more time respondents spend in prison, the more motivated they are to vote, the more they discuss politics, and the more likely their opinions are to evolve.

Perspectives change inside prison. Republicans behind bars back policies like legalizing marijuana that are less popular with GOP voters on the outside; Democrats inside prison are less enthusiastic about an assault weapons ban than Democrats at large.

Political views diverged by race. Black respondents are the only group pointing to reducing racial bias in criminal justice as a top concern; almost every other group picked reducing the prison population as a top criminal justice priority.

Many respondents’ answers reflected the crucible of their own experiences—offering new insights into issues often discussed from a distance on a debate stage.“I once believed in gun ownership,” wrote Helen Gately, who is incarcerated at the J. Aaron Hawkins Senior Center for Women in Arkansas. “But when I killed my abuser with a gun, I knew had there not been a gun in our house I would have never killed him. I would have never had the heart to stab him. But a gun made it impersonal, easy and quick. Now he’s dead and I’m here.”This country is still a long way from granting incarcerated people the right to vote, and polls show the idea is unpopular. But the thinking on who deserves these rights is changing. In the past two years alone, more than a dozen states reconsidered their felony disenfranchisement laws, often restoring voting rights to people on probation and parole or clarifying the rights restoration process.

Read the rest of this article at: The Marshall Project

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In the News 23.12.17 : Today’s Articles of Interest from Around the Internets