News 07.08.20 : Today’s Articles of Interest from Around the Internets


News 07.08.20 : Today’s Articles of Interest from Around the Internets
News 07.08.20 : Today’s Articles of Interest from Around the Internets
News 07.08.20 : Today’s Articles of Interest from Around the Internets

I’ll begin with the story of YS Falls, a set of cascading drops and cool, clear pools set in a Jamaican rainforest. It’s in Saint Elizabeth parish, where for a few years now I’ve been taking my son on vacation. Saint Elizabeth is a beautiful part of the country, far off the beaten path; to reach it from Montego Bay or Kingston takes four or five hours on bad roads. There are few walled resorts here, no package tours of sunburned Americans and Europeans getting drunk at 10 A.M. The people are nice but not too nice; large stretches of the coasts remain undeveloped. I like it because it has yet to be ruined by people like me.

According to locals (and TripAdvisor), YS is one of the wonders of Saint Elizabeth. Last April, on what happened to be my son’s 15th birthday, I hired a taxi to take us there. Davey did not want to go; he wanted to “chill” and “sleep in.” But I wanted to “experience this natural wonder.” So my angry kid and I arrive at YS, which upon first impression is paradisiacal. We walk into the main building, where we must pay a fee (OK, fine), and we are assigned a guide. There is no other way to see YS; we can’t wander around on our own. The guide asks for Davey’s iPhone. I think he’s holding it to keep it safe and dry. But no. For the next hour, he herds us through the falls on a trip that is organized entirely around photo ops. We’re trapped in a conga line of tourists, each group with its own guide who’s holding their smartphones, taking Instagram-worthy shots. We are told to pose in front of one set of falls and—tap!—the guide gets the shot. We’re told to frolic in a pool and—tap!—we’re captured sheepishly frolicking. We are in a kind of hell.

Read the rest of this article at: Outside

News 07.08.20 : Today’s Articles of Interest from Around the Internets

News 07.08.20 : Today’s Articles of Interest from Around the Internets

The documents began arriving in China at 8:48 a.m. on a Saturday in April 2004. There were close to 800 of them: PowerPoint presentations from customer meetings, an analysis of a recent sales loss, design details for an American communications network. Others were technical, including source code that represented some of the most sensitive information owned by Nortel Networks Corp., then one of the world’s largest companies.

At its height in 2000, the telecom equipment manufacturer employed 90,000 people and had a market value of C$367 billion (about $250 billion at the time), accounting for more than 35% of Canada’s benchmark stock market index, the TSE 300. Nortel’s sprawling Ottawa research campus sat at the center of a promising tech ecosystem, surrounded by dozens of startups packed with its former employees. The company dominated the market for fiber-optic data transmission systems; it had invented a touchscreen wireless device almost a decade before the iPhone and controlled thousands of fiber-optic and wireless patents. Instead of losing its most promising engineers to Silicon Valley, Nortel was attracting brilliant coders from all over the world. The company seemed sure to help lay the groundwork for the next generations of wireless networks, which would be known as 4G and 5G.

Back then, Ottawa, not traditionally (or since) known for its glamour, seemed full of sports cars, corporate jets, and even society scandals featuring tech CEOs. In 1999 the co-founder of Corel Corp., who’d gotten his start at Nortel’s precursor company, threw a gala at which his wife showed up in a C$1 million leather bodysuit with an anatomically correct gold breastplate and a 15-carat-diamond nipple. “You were just surrounded by the most interesting and intelligent people that you could find anywhere in the world,” says Ken Bradley, who spent 30 years at Nortel, including as a chief procurement officer. “Nobody would ever tell me I couldn’t do something.”

Nortel’s giddy, gilded growth also made it a target. Starting in the late 1990s, the Canadian Security Intelligence Service, the country’s version of the CIA, became aware of “unusual traffic,” suggesting that hackers in China were stealing data and documents from Ottawa. “We went to Nortel in Ottawa, and we told the executives, ‘They’re sucking your intellectual property out,’ ” says Michel Juneau-Katsuya, who headed the agency’s Asia-Pacific unit at the time. “They didn’t do anything.”

By 2004 the hackers had breached Nortel’s uppermost ranks. The person who sent the roughly 800 documents to China appeared to be none other than Frank Dunn, Nortel’s embattled chief executive officer. Four days before Dunn was fired—fallout from an accounting scandal on his watch that forced the company to restate its financial results—someone using his login had relayed the PowerPoints and other sensitive files to an IP address registered to Shanghai Faxian Corp. It appeared to be a front company with no known business dealings with Nortel.

Read the rest of this article at: Bloomberg

Shop the new IN YOUR EYES Leather Tote in Onyx
at Belgrave Crescent &

For most of her life, Mary L. Trump was shunted aside by her own family.

Her uncle, President Trump, for years looked down on her father — his own brother, Fred Trump Jr., an alcoholic who died when she was a teen.

Her grandfather, Fred Trump Sr., hated her mother, whom he blamed for Fred Trump Jr.’s drinking, court papers say. Her aunt, the president’s sister, once accused Ms. Trump and her brother in a legal deposition of being “absentee grandchildren.”

Even when Ms. Trump shared Christmas with her family, her grandfather was often annoyed by what he took to be her disrespectful nature. Her crime, court papers say: She showed up wearing a baggy sweater.

Ms. Trump’s status as an outcast culminated in 1999 when Fred Trump Sr. died, and she discovered that she and her brother had been cut out of his will, depriving them of what they believed was their rightful share of untold millions. A dispute over the will devolved into a court fight, its details shielded by a confidentiality agreement that Ms. Trump has adhered to for nearly 20 years.

Now, however, the story of that fight — and other new allegations — has been thrust into the spotlight with the publication of Ms. Trump’s memoir, a copy of which The New York Times obtained on Tuesday. The book, along with a number of court documents that have never been reported, sheds new light on a decades-long saga of greed, betrayal and internecine squabbles, laying out what Ms. Trump has described as her family’s legacy of darkness and dysfunction.

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

News 07.08.20 : Today’s Articles of Interest from Around the Internets

News 07.08.20 : Today’s Articles of Interest from Around the Internets

THE COUNTERCULTURE of the 1950s and 1960s now seems like a relic of the distant past, as quaint and charming as those colorful hippie outfits and thrift store love beads, but with about as much real-world impact as an LSD trip. It was an experience (to use a popular word of the era), but experiences don’t last, by definition — perhaps that’s even what makes them so special.

The strange part about this is that during my coming-of-age, in the aftermath of the counterculture, I firmly believed that it had triumphed. I was too young to participate in the Summer of Love or attend Woodstock, but when I reached my teen years not long after these events, I couldn’t imagine society going back to its earlier stodgy ways. And I wasn’t the only one. There was a pervasive feeling that things had changed in some irrevocable manner.

Surely America had now learned the futility of promoting never-ending military campaigns in remote parts of the world. It was just obvious that crass materialism and status-seeking via possessions had been discredited — even more, they had been turned into jokes and talismans of shallowness — making room for other priorities, more experiential and principled, to come to the forefront. Certainly, freedom of expression would never again succumb to the censorship and witch hunts of the 1950s. By the same token, we were too smart to continue polluting our environment and destroying our ecosystem. And who wanted to turn back the clock and give up hard-won gains in civil liberties, due process, racial equality, limitations on government surveillance, restraints on police brutality, and dozens of other areas of tangible progress?

Yet I now see that I was pretty much wrong on all counts. I had thought the counterculture had won the battle, but that was all a mirage. Peace and nonviolence didn’t prevail. Respect and tolerance didn’t become second nature. Crass materialism did not retreat; in fact, it didn’t budge an inch. As I look back on those days with the benefit of hindsight, I have a nagging feeling that things have gotten much worse. We are angrier than ever before, more violent and self-centered, with fewer rights and responsibilities, less tolerant and forgiving, and with less consensus on how to improve the degradations — environmental, cultural, political, technological — that encroach on every side.

Read the rest of this article at: Los Angeles Review of Books

News 07.08.20 : Today’s Articles of Interest from Around the Internets

The college town of Princeton is located in New Jersey, which has been hit especially hard by the coronavirus. The economists Anne Case and Angus Deaton, Nobel Laureate in 2015, have thus spent a lot of time at home in recent months. Both are at particular risk from COVID-19. In spring, the couple published the book “Deaths of Despair and the Future of Capitalism.” It traces the fall of the American working class, which has seen wages stagnate for decades. The two believe the country’s desolate health-care system is partially to blame.

DER SPIEGEL: Ms. Case, Mr. Deaton, the whole world is wondering why the United States has been hit so hard by the coronavirus pandemic. Do you have an explanation?

Deaton: We’re not epidemiologists, but the pandemic is once again revealing that the U.S. health care system is a mess. It was a mess before the pandemic, but the pandemic is really showing how problematic it is. More than 30 million people have lost their employment. And now, because insurance is tied to employment, there are millions of people without health insurance.

DER SPIEGEL: The U.S. has some of the best doctors on earth, an innovative pharmaceutical industry and world class hospitals with the best medical technology. Where is the problem?

Case: The U.S. is spending around 17 percent of GDP on health care, more than any other country in the world. But we have the lowest life expectancy of any rich country in the world. And the health-care industry is responsible for a lot of this.

DER SPIEGEL: You have even called the health-care industry a “parasite on the economy” and said it is “like a tribute to a foreign power.” Isn’t that a bit of an exaggeration?

Deaton: The man who first compared the health-care industry to a tapeworm was Warren Buffett, the famous investor. There are many ways of figuring out what the health-care industry ought to cost and what it delivers. Take, for example, the comparison with Switzerland, the country with the second highest health care expenditures as a share of GDP: They spend 12 percent of GDP, but they live six years longer on average than Americans! If a fairy godmother were somehow to reduce the share spent on health care in America to the Swiss level, a lot of money would be available for other things. It would free up a trillion dollars. That’s the “tribute” that we refer to, the waste. But we are paying it to ourselves, or to some of ourselves, not to a foreign power.

Case: We are not attacking the people in the industry. The doctors and nurses are doing a tremendous job, especially during this crisis. We are attacking a system that is no longer functional.

DER SPIEGEL: But it’s a very American system. It stresses personal responsibility.

Deaton: I don’t think so. It’s especially putting pressure on working-class Americans. A family policy last year cost $20,000 a year. This may be affordable for high paid workers, but not for those who earn less, say $30,000 a year. So as rates kept getting larger and larger in recent years, corporations cut back on hiring low-wage workers. In short, the cost of health care and our system of financing it is a wrecking ball to the less-educated labor market, throwing people out of good jobs into much worse jobs in the outsourcing sector, or out of the labor force altogether.

Case: At the same time, federal and state governments pay for a large chunk of medical care for the elderly or for people without the means to pay for Medicaid. But that is putting great financial stress on the states, because every year, the cost of providing health care goes up. There is less money left over to repave roads or to fund state universities. In the long run, one of the mechanisms by which working-class children could get a good college education is being pulled out from under them because tuitions are being raised.

Read the rest of this article at: Spiegel

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

Follow us on Instagram @thisisglamorous