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News 05.13.20 : Today’s Articles of Interest from Around the Internets

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News 05.13.20 : Today’s Articles of Interest from Around the Internets
@eleonoraarico
News 05.13.20 : Today’s Articles of Interest from Around the Internets
@quizas_mari
News 05.13.20 : Today’s Articles of Interest from Around the Internets
@gulyaevam

April 10, 10:02 a.m. PST // 6:02 p.m. GMT

Robert Pattinson: [blurry, pixelated, unshaven] I don’t know how this is going to work. My phone broke, the internet broke, everything broke. I’m like, “What, why is everything updating, and how do you stop it updating?”

GQ: [blurry, pixelated, unshaven] You can’t update anything. That’s dangerous.

I know. I don’t think I’ve ever pressed “update” in my life. I’ve just always put it off for tomorrow.

Never update!

Wait, let me just try with my, let me just try and connect my—ah, actually, you know what? I’m not even gonna try and do a Bluetooth. I’m just gonna mute it the old-fashioned way. My headphones. Um, how are you doing? Where are you at?

Read the rest of this article at: GQ

News 05.13.20 : Today’s Articles of Interest from Around the Internets

News 05.13.20 : Today’s Articles of Interest from Around the Internets

For a few fleeting moments during the New York governor Andrew Cuomo’s daily coronavirus briefing on Wednesday 6 May, the sombre grimace that has filled our screens for weeks was briefly replaced by something resembling a smile.

“We are ready, we’re all-in,” the governor gushed. “We are New Yorkers, so we’re aggressive about it, we’re ambitious about it … We realise that change is not only imminent, but it can actually be a friend if done the right way.”

The inspiration for these uncharacteristically good vibes was a video visit from the former Google CEO Eric Schmidt, who joined the governor’s briefing to announce that he will be heading up a panel to reimagine New York state’s post-Covid reality, with an emphasis on permanently integrating technology into every aspect of civic life.

“The first priorities of what we’re trying to do,” Schmidt said, “are focused on telehealth, remote learning, and broadband … We need to look for solutions that can be presented now, and accelerated, and use technology to make things better.” Lest there be any doubt that the former Google chair’s goals were purely benevolent, his video background featured a framed pair of golden angel wings.

Just one day earlier, Cuomo had announced a similar partnership with the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation to develop “a smarter education system”. Calling Gates a “visionary”, Cuomo said the pandemic has created “a moment in history when we can actually incorporate and advance [Gates’s] ideas … all these buildings, all these physical classrooms – why, with all the technology you have?” he asked, apparently rhetorically.

It has taken some time to gel, but something resembling a coherent pandemic shock doctrine is beginning to emerge. Call it the Screen New Deal. Far more hi-tech than anything we have seen during previous disasters, the future that is being rushed into being as the bodies still pile up treats our past weeks of physical isolation not as a painful necessity to save lives, but as a living laboratory for a permanent – and highly profitable – no-touch future.

Read the rest of this article at: The Guardian

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In the late evening, after the last members of the public have been ushered out of the building and the outer gates have been bolted shut, a swift and palpable change comes over the British Museum.

The museum is the most popular tourist attraction in Britain, ahead of Tate Modern and the National Gallery: more than 6.2m people visited in 2019, over 17,000 every day. Without these visitors, the relentless thrum of activity beneath the glass-and-steel lattice roof of the Great Court fades to a whisper. A thick silence fills the cavernous galleries that surround it, each one loaded with artefacts that encompass the arc of human history.

By the time the night shift begins, most of the lights in the museum have been extinguished. The security staff, who patrol the length and breadth of the 14-acre complex until early morning, carry out many of their duties by torchlight. Scouring the premises for anomalies – water leaks, the smell of gas, an employee trapped in a remote corridor – they cast their beams into dark corners, the shadows melting back to reveal a war-like Roman bust or an Aztec mask with shining eyes and teeth. They may even confront a real human being, like the body of an Ancient Egyptian, 5,500 years dead, huddled inside a reconstruction of his sandy grave.

Read the rest of this article at: 1843

News 05.13.20 : Today’s Articles of Interest from Around the Internets

News 05.13.20 : Today’s Articles of Interest from Around the Internets

AT AROUND 7 am on a quiet Wednesday in August 2017, Marcus Hutchins walked out the front door of the Airbnb mansion in Las Vegas where he had been partying for the past week and a half. A gangly, 6’4″, 23-year-old hacker with an explosion of blond-brown curls, Hutchins had emerged to retrieve his order of a Big Mac and fries from an Uber Eats deliveryman. But as he stood barefoot on the mansion’s driveway wearing only a T-shirt and jeans, Hutchins noticed a black SUV parked on the street—one that looked very much like an FBI stakeout.

He stared at the vehicle blankly, his mind still hazed from sleep deprivation and stoned from the legalized Nevada weed he’d been smoking all night. For a fleeting moment, he wondered: Is this finally it?

But as soon as the thought surfaced, he dismissed it. The FBI would never be so obvious, he told himself. His feet had begun to scald on the griddle of the driveway. So he grabbed the McDonald’s bag and headed back inside, through the mansion’s courtyard, and into the pool house he’d been using as a bedroom. With the specter of the SUV fully exorcised from his mind, he rolled another spliff with the last of his weed, smoked it as he ate his burger, and then packed his bags for the airport, where he was scheduled for a first-class flight home to the UK.

Hutchins was coming off of an epic, exhausting week at Defcon, one of the world’s largest hacker conferences, where he had been celebrated as a hero. Less than three months earlier, Hutchins had saved the internet from what was, at the time, the worst cyberattack in history: a piece of malware called WannaCry. Just as that self-propagating software had begun exploding across the planet, destroying data on hundreds of thousands of computers, it was Hutchins who had found and triggered the secret kill switch contained in its code, neutering WannaCry’s global threat immediately.

This legendary feat of whitehat hacking had essentially earned Hutchins free drinks for life among the Defcon crowd. He and his entourage had been invited to every VIP hacker party on the strip, taken out to dinner by journalists, and accosted by fans seeking selfies. The story, after all, was irresistible: Hutchins was the shy geek who had single-handedly slain a monster threatening the entire digital world, all while sitting in front of a keyboard in a bedroom in his parents’ house in remote western England.

Read the rest of this article at: Wired

News 05.13.20 : Today’s Articles of Interest from Around the Internets

At a press briefing in early April, New York Governor Andrew Cuomo held up a hospital-green N95 respiratory mask. He had just delivered the day’s updated Covid-19 fatality figures, a number exacerbated in New York and elsewhere by a national shortage of the masks and other protective equipment. “We talk about them as if they are very complicated,” the governor said, rolling the material between his fingers with a kind of contempt for its flimsiness. “It’s fabric, it’s material, the FDA has the specifications, and then it’s two pieces of elastic cord. It can’t be that we can’t make these.” Noting that the market price of an N95 had shot from 70 cents to $7, Cuomo pledged to finance their manufacture in-state, where they will join NYS-Clean hand sanitizer in a growing Empire State–branded pandemic product line.

The scarcity of more complicated tools to address a catastrophic public health crisis—including ventilator machines, other medical devices, and, most elusive of all, a vaccine—doesn’t have such simple state-level answers. But these shortages do raise a similar set of questions: about the patent system, about pandemic preparedness policy, about the value of a private health sector structurally incapable of prioritizing high-risk, low-probability events. From the frustration of Cuomo and his fellow governors to White House interest in the powers of the Defense Production Act of 1950, American officials are remembering that the government can make things. As the ultimate provider and often source of intellectual property rights, it can make them quickly, cheaply, and without the concern for shareholder value that led (to take a pair of notorious recent examples) the medical device giant Covidien to shelve a public contract for emergency mobile ventilators, or 3M to claim at least eight patents related to its respiratory masks between March 3 and April 7.

As the world shifts its focus from containment to a cure, it’s become urgent to face up to the dangers of our reliance on pharmaceutical and biotech industries built to serve Wall Street and shareholder value over human needs and public health. The case for removing patent-barriers and expanding government control over drug research and development was already strong and gaining traction before the Covid-19 pandemic. The events of recent months, says a growing alliance of public health experts and industry reform advocates, have further exposed the faults of the current model and bolstered the case for alternatives. “Under the patent-model that drives the behavior and priorities of the drug industry, companies have no reason to focus resources on a potential pandemic-level virus like Ebola and coronavirus, because the chances of it being used within the term of a patent is too low,” said Rohit Malpani, the former policy director for the Médecins Sans Frontières Access Campaign who has advised Oxfam. “It’s never been clearer that something has to change.”

For the last half-century, the American pharmaceutical industry has steadily abandoned research and development to support new vaccines in favor of whatever products will return the highest profits during the legally standard 20 years of monopoly ownership. At the same time, a profusion of intellectual property claims has become a progress-obstructing asteroid field for nonprofit research efforts geared toward public health. The industry has produced staggeringly high margins by pushing prices to their breaking point on drugs developed through a $42 billion annual subsidy dispersed by the National Institutes of Health. That the same companies are now posturing before an anxious world as avatars of innovation and selflessness is the crowning irony of the coronavirus crisis.

Read the rest of this article at: The New Republic

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