News 11.20.20 : Today’s Articles of Interest from Around the Internets


News 11.20.20 : Today’s Articles of Interest from Around the Internets
News 11.20.20 : Today’s Articles of Interest from Around the Internets
News 11.20.20 : Today’s Articles of Interest from Around the Internets

By the end of its second episode, I knew that Netflix’s new series “Emily in Paris” was not a lighthearted romantic travelogue but an artifact of contemporary dystopia. At that point, Emily had already gone jogging, and the multicolored wheels of her Apple-esque step-counter appeared on my television screen. The circles filled; Emily had pleased the robots monitoring her health. During her next run, a small square popped up: a visualization of Emily’s Instagram account, to which she posted a photo of Paris, accruing onscreen likes. Later, Emily talked, via video call, with her old marketing-agency boss back in Chicago, whom she had replaced on the Paris sojourn when the boss found herself pregnant. My television displayed a closeup of Emily’s phone showing the boss’s face, inset with an image of Emily’s face—three layers of screens at once.

Read the rest of this article at: The New Yorker

News 11.20.20 : Today’s Articles of Interest from Around the Internets

News 11.20.20 : Today’s Articles of Interest from Around the Internets

One afternoon in April, as we climbed into an armoured car outside her office in Vauxhall, south London, I asked Lynne Owens, the country’s most senior police officer, to describe 21st-century crime in the UK. Her answer spanned most of the next two hours, as we crawled east through the traffic to Chelmsford, Essex where, as head of the National Crime Agency (NCA), she had been invited by the Policing Institute of the Eastern Region to give a lecture on the future of law enforcement.

There was Russia’s attempt to kill Sergei Skripal. A North Korean cyber-attack. Eastern European slave traffickers. Albanian cocaine smugglers. (Sensitive to singling out nationalities, Owens used the term “western Balkans”). Hundreds of billions of pounds laundered through London every year. A dramatic rise in the murder rate in the capital in four years. Historic child abuse in Rotherham. Fentanyl manufacturers in Merseyside and Manchester.

All the cases Owens cited were examples of organised crime, illicit national and transnational networks that have multiplied since the 1980s and now make an annual £1.5tn around the world and £37bn, or 1.8% of GDP, in Britain. It was to tackle this threat that the NCA was established five years ago as a national intelligence and police force – inevitably described in the press as the closest thing Britain has to an FBI. What to many might sound like a terrifying catalogue of crime, then, is to Owens, as the NCA’s director-general, a to-do list. Since we spoke, Owens’s caseload has expanded again to include investigations into the origins of Brexiter Arron Banks’s campaign cash and how an Azerbaijani banker’s wife, Zamira Hajiyeva, sustained a lifestyle that ran to spending £16m in Harrods in a decade.

Read the rest of this article at: Huffpost

“Tim, this is a good time to call J.T.”

I’m on a Zoom call with Swizz Beatz and Timbaland, the multiplatinum super-producers and creators of Verzuz, when Swizz casually throws the suggestion out there. For those unfamiliar with early-aughts pop music, that’s “J.T.” as in “Justin Timberlake,” and Timbaland is flashing a mischievous grin. “I’m already on it,” he says, reaching for his phone to shoot a text to his friend and collaborator.

That’s how a lot of Verzuz matchups begin. As happy accidents. The original Verzuz got its start back in March, when stay-at-home orders effectively shut down clubs everywhere and we found ourselves scrolling through Instagram to see who was on Live doing what. One night, Timbaland popped up on his account, dancing and teasing the records that he’d been making while holed up in his studio. Suddenly, he called out for his brother Swizz: “Where you at?!”

Read the rest of this article at: GQ

News 11.20.20 : Today’s Articles of Interest from Around the Internets

News 11.20.20 : Today’s Articles of Interest from Around the Internets

“THE CITY OF Shenzhen in July. The weather is hot, the trees brimming with life … ”

So begins the baritone voice-over in a video shot in the summer of 2018 by the Chinese telecommunications giant Huawei and posted to YouTube. It chronicles a corporate event in the slightly corny style of a 1960s educational film, starting with aerial drone footage of Huawei’s campus—an island of lush greenery surrounded by the high-rise buildings of the city known as China’s Silicon Valley. A spirited orchestral version of Beethoven’s “Turkish March” plays as a town car wends its way through the campus, pulling up to a stately white structure mixing classical Greek architecture and the wide overhanging rooftops of China’s great pagodas. There’s a bit of the White House tossed in too.

Two footmen dressed in white approach the vehicle as it arrives. One opens the rear door. Guo Ping, one of Huawei’s rotating chairmen, steps forward and extends a hand as the guest emerges. After walking a red carpet, the two men enter the magnificent marble-floored building, ascend a stairway, and pass through French doors to a palatial ballroom. Several hundred people arise from their chairs and clap wildly. The guest is welcomed by Huawei’s founder, Ren Zhengfei, whose sky-blue blazer and white khakis signify that he has attained the power to wear whatever the hell he wants.

After some serious speechifying by a procession of dark-suited executives, Ren—who is China’s Bill Gates, Lee Iacocca, and Warren Buffett rolled into one—comes to the podium. Three young women dressed in white uniforms enter the room, swinging their arms military style as they march to the stage, then about-face in unison as one holds out a framed gold medal the size of a salad plate. Embedded with a red Baccarat crystal, it depicts the Goddess of Victory and was manufactured by the Monnaie de Paris. Ren is almost glowing as he presents the medal to the visitor.

This honored guest is not a world leader, a billionaire magnate, nor a war hero. He is a relatively unknown Turkish academic named Erdal Arıkan. Throughout the ceremony he has been sitting stiffly, frozen in his ill-fitting suit, as if he were an ordinary theatergoer suddenly thrust into the leading role on a Broadway stage.

Arıkan isn’t exactly ordinary. Ten years earlier, he’d made a major discovery in the field of information theory. Huawei then plucked his theoretical breakthrough from academic obscurity and, with large investments and top engineering talent, fashioned it into something of value in the realm of commerce. The company then muscled and negotiated to get that innovation into something so big it could not be denied: the basic 5G technology now being rolled out all over the world.

Huawei’s rise over the past 30 years has been heralded in China as a triumph of smarts, sweat, and grit. Perhaps no company is more beloved at home—and more vilified by the United States. That’s at least in part because Huawei’s ascent also bears the fingerprints of China’s nationalistic industrial policy and an alleged penchant for intellectual property theft; the US Department of Justice has charged the company with a sweeping conspiracy of misappropriation, infringement, obstruction, and lies. As of press time, Ren Zhengfei’s daughter was under house arrest in Vancouver, fighting extradition to the US for allegedly violating a ban against trading with Iran. The US government has banned Huawei’s 5G products and has been lobbying other countries to do the same. Huawei denies the charges; Ren calls them political.

Read the rest of this article at: Wired

News 11.20.20 : Today’s Articles of Interest from Around the Internets

On a hot summer morning in Atlanta a few years ago, I took my then five-year-old son to his swimming lesson. As we walked toward his pool, we passed a smaller, shallower pool where an infant swim class was underway. I was still trying to wake up, but the class was already in full gear and my attention was drawn to a chorus of motherese (the high-pitched, rhythmic, infant-directed speech known more colloquially as baby talk) arising from the class. Parents were standing in a circle inside the pool, holding their infants in front of them, with the instructor in the centre. I couldn’t help but notice that many of the parents were fathers. Some were a bit chubby, with pale torsos reflecting the bright sunlight. They seemed like ideal infant-caregivers: calm, gentle, patient and sensitive. They didn’t seem like men you would go to battle with. In fact, they were the very antithesis of the warriors and athletes – think Maximus, Achilles or Michael Jordan – often associated with a masculine ideal.

Were the men in the pool just inherently different, born infant-caregivers? Or did the process of becoming a father somehow transform them so that they became better suited to perform this role? We have known for decades that mothers’ bodies and brains are transformed by the dramatic hormonal changes of pregnancy and childbirth. Now, new research is showing that men are also biologically transformed by the experience of becoming an involved father.

When women become mothers, levels of the hormones oestrogen, progesterone and prolactin increase throughout pregnancy. Hormones have their biological effects by binding to receptors – molecules that sense the hormonal signal – throughout the body, and they can influence behaviour through binding to receptors in the brain. Oestrogen increases the brain’s capacity to detect another major hormone, oxytocin, and the massive release of oxytocin at birth, coupled with repeated pulses of oxytocin during breastfeeding, helps mothers bond with and want to care for their infants.

Read the rest of this article at: aeon

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

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News 11.20.20 : Today’s Articles of Interest from Around the Internets