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News 06.26.20 : Today’s Articles of Interest from Around the Internets

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News 06.26.20 : Today’s Articles of Interest from Around the Internets
@exmyfr
News 06.26.20 : Today’s Articles of Interest from Around the Internets
@exmyfr / via @dana_chels
News 06.26.20 : Today’s Articles of Interest from Around the Internets
@rudovanatalia

This is a story about a border war. Specifically, a border war between two nations that happen, at least in theory, to be precisely the same place. One of them is Britain, a small, soggy island whose power on the world stage is declining, where poverty, inequality, and disaster nationalism are rising, where the government has mangled its response to a global pandemic so badly that it’s making some of us nostalgic for the days when all we did was panic about Brexit. The other is “Britain!” — a magical land of round tables and boy wizards and enchanted swords and moral decency, where the sun never sets on an Empire run by gentlemen, where witty people wear frocks and top hats and decide the fate of nations over tea and biscuits.

One is a real place. The other is a fascinatingly dishonest, selective statement of fact, rather like describing how beautiful the countryside was in the antebellum American South. A truth so incomplete it’s worse than a lie.

Read the rest of this article at: Longreads

News 06.26.20 : Today’s Articles of Interest from Around the Internets

News 06.26.20 : Today’s Articles of Interest from Around the Internets

Of all the calamities that befell tourists as the coronavirus took hold, those involving cruise ships stood apart. Contagion at sea inspired a special horror, as pleasure palaces turned into prison hulks, and rumours of infection on board spread between fetid cabins via WhatsApp. Trapped in close proximity to their fellow passengers, holidaymakers experienced the distress of being both victims and agents of infection, as a succession of ports refused them entry.

When it began, the deadly situation at sea was seen as a freakish outgrowth of what many still thought of as a Chinese problem. The first ship to suffer a major outbreak was the Diamond Princess. By mid-February, 355 cases had been confirmed aboard, and the ship was held being in quarantine in the port of Yokohama. At the time, the ship accounted for more than half of reported cases outside China. Fourteen passengers on the Diamond Princess would die of the virus.

The nightmare at sea has not concluded. Even after passengers from more than 30 afflicted cruise ships were allowed to disembark, and flooded into hospitals, quarantine hotels or on to charter flights home, an estimated 100,000 crew and staff remained trapped at sea, some in quarantine, others blocked from disembarking until their employers could make onward travel arrangements. This second drama led to a mass hunger strike – by 15 Romanian crew in limbo off the coast of Florida – and a police intervention to quell disturbances on a ship quarantined in the German port of Cuxhaven. As recently as 1 June, crew and staff aboard 20-odd cruise ships marooned in Manila Bay were reportedly clamouring to be allowed ashore.

Cruises have become a symbol of the ravages that coronavirus has inflicted on tourism. A sector that until January was worth $150bn, by its own estimate, is shedding jobs, issuing debt and discounting furiously simply to survive. But even before the current crisis hit, cruising had become symptomatic of the damage that tourism wreaks on the world.

Read the rest of this article at: The Guardian

Tuscany Tote in Midnight

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It was just after 10 p.m. on an overcast September night in Los Angeles, and L. was tired from a long day of class prep, teaching, and grading papers. So the 57-year-old anthropology professor fed her Chihuahua-dachshund mix a freeze-dried chicken strip, swapped her cigarette trousers for stretchy black yoga pants, and began to unfold a set of white sheets and a beige cotton blanket to make up her bed.

But first she had to recline the passenger seat of her 2015 Nissan Leaf as far as it would go—that being her bed in the parking lot she’d called home for almost three months. The Late Show with Stephen Colbert was playing on her iPad as she drifted off for another night. “Like sleeping on an airplane—but not in first class,” she said. That was in part by design. “I don’t want to get more comfortable. I want to get out of here.”

L., who asked to go by her middle initial for fear of losing her job, couldn’t afford her apartment earlier this year after failing to cobble together enough teaching assignments at two community colleges. By July she’d exhausted her savings and turned to a local nonprofit called Safe Parking L.A., which outfits a handful of lots around the city with security guards, port-a-potties, Wi-Fi, and solar-powered electrical chargers. Sleeping in her car would allow her to save for a deposit on an apartment. On that night in late September, under basketball hoops owned by an Episcopal church in Koreatown, she was one of 16 people in 12 vehicles. Ten of them were female, two were children, and half were employed.

Read the rest of this article at: The Globe And Mail

News 06.26.20 : Today’s Articles of Interest from Around the Internets

News 06.26.20 : Today’s Articles of Interest from Around the Internets

It feels different this time.

Black Americans protesting the violation of their rights are a defining tradition of this country. In the last century, there have been hundreds of uprisings in black communities in response to white violence. Some have produced substantive change. After the assassination of the Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. in 1968, uprisings in more than 100 cities broke the final congressional deadlock over whether it should be illegal to deny people housing simply because they descended from people who had been enslaved. The Fair Housing Act, which prohibits housing discrimination on the basis of race, gender and religion, among other categories, seemed destined to die in Congress as white Southerners were joined by many of their Northern counterparts who knew housing segregation was central to how Jim Crow was accomplished in the North. But just seven days after King’s death, President Lyndon B. Johnson signed the act into law from the smoldering capital, which was still under protection from the National Guard.

Most of the time these uprisings have produced hand-wringing and consternation but few necessary structural changes. After black uprisings swept the nation in the mid-1960s, Johnson created the Kerner Commission to examine their causes, and the report it issued in 1968 recommended a national effort to dismantle segregation and structural racism across American institutions. It was shelved by the president, like so many similar reports, and instead white Americans voted in a “law and order” president, Richard Nixon. The following decades brought increased police militarization, law-enforcement spending and mass incarceration of black Americans.

The changes we’re seeing today in some ways seem shockingly swift, and in other ways rage-inducingly slow. After years of black-led activism, protest and organizing, the weeks of protests since George Floyd’s killing have moved lawmakers to ban chokeholds by police officers, consider stripping law enforcement of the qualified immunity that has made it almost impossible to hold responsible officers who kill, and discuss moving significant parts of ballooning police budgets into funding for social services. Black Lives Matter, the group founded in 2013 by three black women, Patrisse Khan-Cullors, Alicia Garza and Opal Tometi, after the acquittal of Trayvon Martin’s killer, saw its support among American voters rise almost as much in the two weeks after Floyd’s killing than in the last two years. According to polling by Civiqs, more than 50 percent of registered voters now say they support the movement.

The cascading effect of these protests has been something to behold. The commissioner of the N.F.L., which blackballed Colin Kaepernick for daring to respectfully protest police brutality, announced that the N.F.L. had, in fact, been wrong and that black lives actually do matter. (Kaepernick, on the other hand, still has no job.) HBO Max announced that it would temporarily pull from its roster the Lost Cause propaganda film “Gone With the Wind” — which in classically American fashion holds the spot as the highest-grossing feature film of all time. NASCAR came to the sudden realization that its decades-long permissiveness toward fans’ waving the battle flag of a traitorous would-be nation that fought to preserve the right to traffic black people was, in fact, contrary to its “commitment to providing a welcoming and inclusive environment for all fans, our competitors and our industry.” Bubba Wallace, the only full-time black driver at the sport’s top level, who had called on NASCAR to make the move, drove victory laps in an all-black stock car emblazoned with the words “#BLACKLIVESMATTER.”

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

News 06.26.20 : Today’s Articles of Interest from Around the Internets

I first encountered Erik Seidel the way many poker newbies do. I was watching Rounders, the 1998 Matt Damon movie about a brilliant law student who pays his way through school with his poker prowess, and in the end quits law altogether to play full-time. In several scenes, a real-life poker match plays in the background. It’s the 1988 World Series of Poker final table showdown, between a young Seidel and Johnny Chan, the “master,” as Chan is repeatedly described by the commentators. This is the most famous poker match in the nonpoker world, in which Seidel’s set of queens falls to Chan’s straight, after the older player sets an expert trap for his less experienced victim.

At the time, Chan was the reigning world champion and Seidel was at his first-ever major tournament. He’d made it past 165 other contenders to make the final table, the last man standing save one. Thirty years later, Seidel has become the master. He holds eight WSOP bracelets—only five players in the tournament’s history have more—and a World Poker Tour title. He is in the Poker Hall of Fame, one of just 32 living members. He boasts the fourth-highest tournament career winnings in the history of the game, and is fourth in the number of times he cashed in the WSOP (114). Many consider him the GOAT—the greatest of all time.

Seidel stands out from other players for his longevity: He still contends for No. 1, as he has since his career first started, in the late ’80s. That takes some doing. The game has changed a lot in the past 30 years. As with so many facets of modern life, the qualitative elements of poker have taken a back seat to the quantitative. Caltech Ph.D.s now line the tables. Printouts of stats columns are a common sight. A conversation rarely goes for more than a beat without someone mentioning GTO (game theory optimal) or +EV (positive expected value). But despite predictions that his psychological style of play would render him a dinosaur, Seidel stays on top.

Three years ago, Seidel began to teach me how to play poker. Why on earth would a professional poker player—the professional poker player—agree to let a random journalist follow him around like an overeager toddler? It’s not for money or exposure. Seidel is notoriously reticent, and he hates sharing his tactics. I was, however, an ideal pupil in a few ways. Most important, I have a Ph.D. in psychology, and so I was well positioned to understand Seidel’s style of play. I also never had much of an interest in cards, meaning Seidel wouldn’t have to rid me of any bad habits. My academic training and my inexperience made me a perfect vehicle for an experiment to see if Seidel’s psychological game could still triumph over a strictly mathematical style.

Read the rest of this article at: The Atlantic

P.S. previous articles & more by P.F.M.

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