News 03.13.20 : Today’s Articles of Interest from Around the Internets


News 03.13.20 : Today’s Articles of Interest from Around the Internets
News 03.13.20 : Today’s Articles of Interest from Around the Internets
News 03.13.20 : Today’s Articles of Interest from Around the Internets

Sonny Rollins is, by any reasonable estimation, a genius. He is jazz’s greatest living improviser, able to imbue his solos with wry humor, surprise, brilliant logical form and profound emotion. Time and time again, he created something miraculous out of thin air, and he did it until he could do it no longer. The 89-year-old played his last concert in 2012, and in 2014, he stopped playing saxophone altogether, a result of pulmonary fibrosis. That doesn’t mean we’ll never hear music from him again — Resonance Records will release a set of previously unissued performances this fall — but it does mean that Rollins’s colossal record as a musician is a thing of the past. I wanted to know how a musician whose playing was always attuned to the present has forged a new life in the shadow of that stark fact. “‘Happy’ is not the word,” said Rollins, seated on a couch under a large painting of Buddha at his rambling home in Woodstock, N.Y., “but I am the most content I’ve ever been. I have most things figured out.”

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

News 03.13.20 : Today’s Articles of Interest from Around the Internets

News 03.13.20 : Today’s Articles of Interest from Around the Internets

Sometime during the night of Sept. 4, 2018, Billie Eilish took her own life — in a dream. “I jumped off a building,” she recalled recently. What was most alarming about it, as she looked back, was how little it alarmed her. “I was in a really bad place mentally,” Eilish said; the dream struck her less as a nightmare than as a grimly alluring fantasy. The next day, she approached her older brother, Finneas O’Connell, a songwriter and producer, and told him about it. They have collaborated on every piece of music she has put out, and she presented the dream to him as possible inspiration for a new song.

Eilish, whose full name is Billie Eilish Pirate Baird O’Connell, was raised in a two-bedroom, 1,200-square-foot Craftsman bungalow in a modest neighborhood on Los Angeles’s east side. In 2018, Finneas bought a house of his own, but his childhood bedroom, abutting Billie’s, has long been their favorite place to make music. (Their parents, working actors who augmented their income with side jobs in construction and teaching, still sleep on a futon in the living room.) Finneas, facing a keyboard, listened as Billie talked about her dream, and together they figured out some chords to frame Billie’s deceptively upbeat opening line — “I had a dream I got everything I wanted.”

As they worked on the song, though, Finneas grew increasingly uncomfortable, then angry, and finally he refused to go any further. “We had this big argument,” Billie said. “Because I admitted something that I was, uh. It wasn’t a physical thing I was admitting. I don’t know how to put it without actually saying it, and I don’t want to actually say it. But it was me admitting to something that was very serious about my depression. A very serious step that I was admitting that I was planning on taking. And Finneas said, I don’t want to write a song about you killing yourself and how that’s everything you wanted!” Her parents caught wind of the argument and, along with Finneas, grew “insanely concerned,” Billie said. “It became this huge thing, and I locked myself in my room, and I was in there, just drawing on my wall.”

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

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SAN FRANCISCO — On a website called Azerbaijani Eagles, you can commission a murder for $5,000. The site Slayers Hitmen provides more options, with a beating going for $2,000. Death by torture costs $50,000.

But don’t expect someone to get the job done. Experts and law enforcers who have studied these sites — almost all of them on the so-called dark web or dark net — say they are scams. There has not been a known murder attributed to any of them.

That doesn’t mean the sites aren’t involved in a very dark trade. They have become catch points for real people who are looking to pay to have someone murdered. And a number of men and women are sitting in jail after paying one of these sites — and getting caught by the police.

In one of the most recent cases to make its way through the courts, a nurse from Illinois was sentenced to 12 years in prison after pleading guilty to sending $12,000 in Bitcoin to the site Sicilian Hitmen International Network. She had hoped to have the wife of her boyfriend killed.

Twenty-four hit-man-for-hire sites are the subject of an academic paper that was shared in advance with The New York Times by a professor at Michigan State University, Tom Holt, and his student, Ariel Roddy.

The paper, which is being reviewed for publication, is the first academic effort to illuminate what has been a subject of endless intrigue. For years, the potential anonymity granted by the internet has fed predictions that there would be marketplaces for death and assassination.

Read the rest of this article at: Bloomberg

News 03.13.20 : Today’s Articles of Interest from Around the Internets

News 03.13.20 : Today’s Articles of Interest from Around the Internets

The young mothers didn’t tell their children they had the coronavirus. Mama was working hard, they said, to save sick people.Instead, Deng Danjing and Xia Sisi were fighting for their lives in the same hospitals where they worked, weak from fever and gasping for breath. Within a matter of weeks, they had gone from healthy medical professionals on the front lines of the epidemic in Wuhan, China, to coronavirus patients in critical condition.The world is still struggling to fully understand the new virus, its symptoms, spread and sources. For some, it can feel like a common cold. For others, it is a deadly infection that ravages the lungs and pushes the immune system into overdrive, destroying even healthy cells. The difference between life and death can depend on the patient’s health, age and access to care — although not always.The virus has infected more than 132,000 globally. The vast majority of cases have been mild, with limited symptoms. But the virus’s progression can be quick, at which point the chances of survival plummet. Around 68,000 people have recovered, while nearly 5,000 have died.The fates of Ms. Deng and Dr. Xia reflect the unpredictable nature of a virus that affects everyone differently, at times defying statistical averages and scientific research.As the new year opened in China, the women were leading remarkably similar lives. Both were 29 years old. Both were married, each with a young child on whom she doted.Ms. Deng, a nurse, had worked for three years at Wuhan No. 7 Hospital, in the city where she grew up and where the coronavirus pandemic began. Her mother was a nurse there, too, and in their free time they watched movies or shopped together. Ms. Deng’s favorite activity was playing with her two pet kittens, Fat Tiger and Little White, the second of which she had rescued just three months before falling sick.

Before the epidemic, Ms. Deng had promised to take her 5-year-old daughter to the aquarium.

Dr. Xia, a gastroenterologist, also came from a family of medical professionals. As a young child, she had accompanied her mother, a nurse, to work. She joined the Union Jiangbei Hospital of Wuhan in 2015 and was the youngest doctor in her department. Her colleagues called her “Little Sisi” or “Little Sweetie” because she always had a smile for them. She loved Sichuan hot pot, a dish famous for its numbingly spicy broth.

Dr. Xia loved traveling with her family. She had recently visited Wuzhizhou Island, a resort destination off the southern coast of China.

When a mysterious new virus struck the city, the women began working long hours, treating a seemingly endless flood of patients. They took precautions to protect themselves. But they succumbed to the infection, the highly contagious virus burrowing deep into their lungs, causing fever and pneumonia. In the hospital, each took a turn for the worse.One recovered. One did not.

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

News 03.13.20 : Today’s Articles of Interest from Around the Internets

It was weird that no one had heard from Jake Millison in a few days.

Maybe someone who didn’t know him, an outsider to Gunnison, a small Colorado town on the western slope of the Rockies, might assume he was flaky or unreliable. At 29, Jake still lived with his mom and spent most nights at the local dive bar, the Alamo. But Jake’s friends knew he was deliberate, a creature of routine. If you had plans to go to the movies on Saturday, he’d text you on Wednesday: What time should I pick you up? And then again on Thursday and Friday just to confirm. On a motorcycle trip to California, Jake was the one who brought tarps and first-aid kits. He definitely wasn’t the fall-off-the-face-of-the-Earth type.

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Jake had spent most of his life on the 7-11 Ranch, his family’s property just outside Gunnison. He’d drive into town most evenings, work out at the gym, then stop by the Alamo. He always sat at the same table and always ordered the same drink: a Coke, because anything stronger made him nervous. His friends, a close-knit group of half a dozen guys, would show up after their shifts at the mechanic shop or the lumberyard. They’d shoot pool for a couple of hours, then Jake would head home to the ranch. “Everything was like clockwork with him,” his friend Antranik Ajarian told me.

On Wednesday, May 20, 2015—five days since anyone had heard from Jake—his friends Nate Lopez and Randy Martinez drove out to the 7-11 Ranch. They turned into the driveway, then drove past the barn decorated with the antlers of deer, elk, and moose, testaments to the property’s glory days as a hunting camp. They didn’t see Jake, although they did spy his truck, his motorcycles, and his dog, Elmo.

In the horse corral, they spotted Jake’s mother, Deb, a wiry woman whose frail frame belied her stubborn strength. Deb told Lopez and Martinez that Jake had gone to Reno, Nevada, to train at a mixed-martial-arts gym; he wasn’t responding to their texts because he’d dropped his phone in an irrigation ditch and left it behind to dry out in a bag of rice. Her explanation was logical enough. But the more they thought about it, the more it didn’t sit right with them.

Another few days passed, and still no word from Jake. His friends called and stopped by the ranch. They weren’t sure what else to do. I’ll let you know when he’s back, Deb would say. Were they paranoid, or did she seem annoyed to see them? The situation felt weird, they kept saying to one another. It just felt weird.

After about a week, a Gunnison County patrol sergeant named Mark Mykol, alerted to Jake’s sudden disappearance, called the ranch. Deb said her son had taken off with a friend whose name she didn’t know. She thought they were headed to Reno to go camping. He did this sometimes, just up and vanished, and she seemed less worried than irritated. Mykol marked the case status as “unfounded”—nothing to see here. But Jake’s friends kept insisting that something was wrong. A week later, Mykol called the ranch again. This time, Deb admitted that she and her son had been arguing; he was almost 30 and still living at home, after all. He’d grabbed some camping equipment, a gun, and a wad of cash, then gotten into a car with someone she didn’t recognize. She figured he was in Nevada looking for work, or in California with friends, or in New Mexico with his father; she’d stopped trying to keep tabs on him.

But Deb’s story only left Jake’s friends more confused. It was as if she were talking about an entirely different person from the Jake they knew.

Read the rest of this article at: The Atlantic

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