News 21.05.21 : Today’s Articles of Interest from Around the Internets


News 21.05.21 : Today’s Articles of Interest from Around the Internets
News 21.05.21 : Today’s Articles of Interest from Around the Internets
News 21.05.21 : Today’s Articles of Interest from Around the Internets

There’s one line from Twitter power user Chrissy Teigen’s latest mea culpa that I haven’t been able to get out of my head. Teigen, who recently returned to the platform less than a month after announcing she was quitting it forever, tweeted an apology to media personality Courtney Stodden, who had accused her of harassing them online when they were just 16 years old.

“I’m mortified and sad at who I used to be,” Teigen wrote to her 13.6 million followers last week. “I was an insecure, attention seeking troll. I am ashamed and completely embarrassed at my behavior but that is nothing compared to how I made Courtney feel.”

It was the next bit, though, that’s been haunting me: “I have worked so hard to give you guys joy and be beloved and the feeling of letting you down is nearly unbearable.” There’s something deeply telling about Teigen’s admission that she works hard to “be beloved” — which, as writer Bolu Babalola notes, “is not the same as working to be a good person.”

Read the rest of this article at: BuzzFeed

News 21.05.21 : Today’s Articles of Interest from Around the Internets

News 21.05.21 : Today’s Articles of Interest from Around the Internets

Erica Mighetto has been a driver for ride-hail platforms for four years, and has stories, she says, that span the spectrum “from being solicited for sex to meeting some great people that are still my friends to this day.”

When she got started, she expected it to be a transitional thing, a gig between more permanent jobs. She’d worked in accounting for 15 years and was employed by a property management company where, she says, “a lot of my role became evicting people from their homes, and I just wasn’t happy there.” But she actually liked being a driver more than she’d thought, and at first, with Lyft, she was making decent money — an average of $40 an hour.

“I really enjoyed getting away from the cubicle and into the world and sharing people’s experiences,” she says. “I always said that I really loved having the word on the street. You find out not just the best places to eat but the best person to do your taxes, everything that’s going on in your community. You have a real finger on the pulse.”

Mighetto, 39, is from Sacramento, California, and she used to drive to the Bay Area every now and then to work for a long weekend and make more money; she could bring in as much as $80 an hour on a holiday or during a big event. The company offered bonuses for many things: a hot streak — say, $15 for three rides in a row in a prescribed time frame, or sign-on bonuses if they referred another driver, or weekly bonuses for a certain number of rides. But as time went on, she says, echoing many drivers from both Lyft and Uber, she found that her bonuses were lower, and suddenly, she was making the hour-and-a-half drive every weekend just to get by. “They kept moving the goalposts,” she says.

The experience was much the same for Seydou Ouattara, a driver for Uber in New York. When he began driving in 2016, he was doing pretty well, but over the years, he says, “I was working more hours for Uber, but I was making less money.”

Mighetto’s and Ouattara’s experiences — of both promised freedom and frustration — are increasingly common in the United States as the “gig economy” grows. Companies like Uber and Lyft have argued that gig workers need to be excluded from employee status to preserve their flexibility, and that most of their drivers are part-time hustlers, not full-time professional drivers.

Read the rest of this article at: Vox

The Balmoral in Chestnut

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My most intimate relationship of 2020 was with the internet. I did my job online, and talked to my friends online, and streamed hundreds of hours of TV that I’d already seen online, just to fill my empty apartment with human sounds. I used the internet to put scary Instagram filters on my face, and join a mutual-aid Slack group, and reflexively refresh the coronavirus case count in my zip code, and attend my cousin’s wedding, and blog about a parasocial relationship with an online Pilates instructor.

I know I’m not alone in feeling that the internet has become even more vital than it was before the pandemic began, when it was already pretty vital. Adults talked, last year, about discovering TikTok for the first time, and using it to soothe the anxieties instigated by everything else. They also Zoomed and Zoomed and Zoomed, and then discussed “Zoom fatigue,” or “video vertigo,” defined as “a downward spiral that comes from compounding work and leisure in the same space.” Most of the important dating apps added videochat features, or other tools for virtual dating, and celebrated unexpected surges in flirting: March 29, 2020, was Tinder’s first day of 3 billion swipes, setting a record that would be broken 130 more times within the year. Clubhouse, an invite-only app for “social audio,” blew up and inspired Facebook and Twitter to make copycat features; the game-streaming app Twitch and the game-chatter app Discord had huge years too. Netflix got even bigger, food-ordering apps became even more popular, and Uber bought an alcohol-delivery start-up for $1.1 billion. This was the year that the internet saved us from despair, gave us purpose, colonized every open space in our lives, and led us into Facebook groups that destroyed our minds.

Read the rest of this article at: The Atlantic

News 21.05.21 : Today’s Articles of Interest from Around the Internets

Kathryn Hahn was 24 when she appeared at the Williamstown Theatre Festival for the first time. It was 1998, and the ensemble she was part of tried a warm-up exercise that involved running as fast as you could toward a wall, then stopping short, as close to the wall as possible. Other actors nailed it, decelerating to stick the landing. When it was Hahn’s turn, she hit the wall full force, and broke the big toe on her left foot.

“I was a sobbing mess,” she tells me. “I was finally doing something legit. I was like, ‘Oh, I’m in the Berkshires. I’m going to make some experimental theater. There’s Ethan Hawke over there!’ Then I frickin’ broke my toe right off the bat. Couldn’t stop myself.”

Hahn is 47 now, but to study her career is to realize that she’s spent two decades throwing herself at every role she’s had. Our interview starts with her welcoming me into the bedroom she shares with her actor-writer-producer husband, Ethan Sandler. It’s a cloudy afternoon in Los Angeles—“pretty moody weather,” Hahn says, her dark hair falling wildly around her face. Even pixelated on Zoom, Hahn is beautiful, but in an oversized oatmeal-colored sweater and big, black-rimmed glasses, she projects an off-kilter sensibility that feels comfortably familiar, like you already know her. Right away, she tells me that the green chair she’s perched on is supposedly haunted by the ghost of an old man.

“It’s a benign presence, but I guess we’re not alone,” she says, explaining that she is sitting “right in his lap.”

When I remark that a haunted setting is perfect, given that we are going to discuss her beloved turn as a witch in Disney+’s WandaVision, she nods, but keeps talking about the ghost. “I definitely am sending him nothing but good energy,” she says.

Since her first major studio role, in the 2003 light comedy How to Lose a Guy in 10 Days, Hahn has become known in Hollywood as “a Think.” A Think is a script-writing device that defines a new character by referencing a particular actor, as in: “Enter CASSIE. She’s a whirling dervish of nervousness, and it somehow makes her super attractive. Think: KATHRYN HAHN.” But despite her growing fame, Hahn’s talent has often been put to best use in edgier, alternative fare (Amazon’s I Love Dick, for example, in which she played a neurotic filmmaker who becomes obsessed with an art prof, played by Kevin Bacon). It took WandaVision—the Marvel Cinematic Universe’s first show for Disney+—to make her mainstream. Suddenly, we are all thinking Kathryn Hahn.

Read the rest of this article at: Vanity Fair

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News 21.05.21 : Today’s Articles of Interest from Around the Internets

One morning last autumn, a dozen or so locals were eating breakfast at a cafe under a clear Marbella sky, in front of the offices of the Special Organised Crime Response Unit (Greco), on the Costa del Sol. The property is nondescript – an unobtrusive building in a working-class neighbourhood – and only someone with a sharp eye for detail might notice the two security cameras monitoring the front entrance. The cafe’s regulars drank coffee and ate toast, unaware that only 24 hours earlier, in another part of the city, Greco agents had rescued a man from a garage, alive, but with holes drilled through his toes. It was the latest local case of amarre, or kidnapping, to settle a score between criminal gangs.

That afternoon, in Puerto Banús, the wealthiest and most extravagant area of the city, a young British man with ties to organised crime walked out of a Louis Vuitton store and found himself surrounded by a crew of young Maghrebis, “soldiers” from one of the Marseille clans. “They didn’t want anything specific,” he said. “They just stared me down and said: ‘What’s up?’ They were looking for trouble. Things like this have been happening for a while now. It’s getting really dangerous here,” he said, with no apparent sense of the irony of a criminal complaining about criminality.

On the same day, in New Andalucía, one of the luxury housing developments on the outskirts of the city, next to the scorched shell of the Sisú Hotel, which was set on fire in what seemed to be a settling of scores, a Rolls-Royce sped through an intersection and smashed into an oncoming car. The driver, a young man in a tracksuit and tattoos, got out and inspected the damage, clutching three mobile phones and glaring defiantly at passersby.

It was in the 60s, during Spain’s economic “miracle” and development boom, that the Costa del Sol was transformed into the tourist hotspot of southern Europe. First, working-class holidaymakers thronged the public beaches. Then an emerging class of jet-setters found their piece of paradise in Marbella. The plan to develop the region succeeded, but success came with its own baggage. “This was the Francoist agreement,” said Antonio Romero, an author and former politician who is one of the most outspoken voices against organised crime in the region. “You, the criminals, come here to relax, don’t commit any crimes, and bring your money.” And so, as the authorities turned a blind eye, Marbella became a premier destination for the global criminal elite.

The Costa del Sol is organised crime’s southern frontier – a stretch of urban sprawl extending from Málaga to Estepona, with Marbella, a city of 147,633 people, as its capital. According to the Spanish Intelligence Centre for Counter-Terrorism and Organised Crime, there are at least 113 criminal groups representing 59 different nationalities operating out of the area.

There is nowhere quite like the Costa del Sol – a long tongue of land stretching 55 miles between the mountains and the sea. To the south, less than 10 miles of open water separates the region from Morocco – the world’s largest producer of hashish – and from the autonomous Spanish outposts of Ceuta and Melilla. Less than an hour’s drive away is one of Europe’s main entry points for cocaine, the port of Algeciras. Across the bay from Algeciras is the British overseas territory of Gibraltar, a tax haven separated from Spain by a fence. To the north rise the Málaga and Granada mountains, Europe’s main region for marijuana cultivation.

Read the rest of this article at: The Guardian

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