News 26.05.21 : Today’s Articles of Interest from Around the Internets


News 26.05.21 : Today’s Articles of Interest from Around the Internets
News 26.05.21 : Today’s Articles of Interest from Around the Internets
News 26.05.21 : Today’s Articles of Interest from Around the Internets

Aqua blue, acid lime and grape purple. Electric orange interspersed with neon pink. Gray suede and cheetah print mixed with white and gold. These are not descriptions of a minimalist’s worst nightmare, but rather new color combinations from Adidas, Reebok and New Balance. And they are jarring by design.

In the age of the infinite scroll and the era of sneaker culture, where the competition to make the hottest, rarest, most wanted kick is more intense than ever, the shoe that clashes shades with the most force stops traffic — at least of the online kind. As a result, athletic shoe companies are increasingly becoming fluent aficionados of that old art: color theory.

The links between color and emotion have been studied for centuries, from Carl Jung’s color coding of personality traits to focus groups evaluating the ways in which candy colors can affect perceptions of flavor. Drug companies color their pills “cool” or “hot” according to desired effect (hypnotics are often blue or green, antidepressants yellow), and we use SAD lamps in winter to replicate the energizing qualities of a sunny day.

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

News 26.05.21 : Today’s Articles of Interest from Around the Internets

News 26.05.21 : Today’s Articles of Interest from Around the Internets

In the year since George Floyd died under the knee of a Minneapolis police officer, the explosive waves of national protest that followed have taken on almost a settled meaning: They were calls for police reform, and for America to take a hard look at the racial injustice threaded through its civic life.

But in its breadth and impact, the reaction to Floyd’s killing also blew through any conventional expectations for what a “protest” might touch. The reckoning it prompted about race in America extended to workplaces, classrooms, legislatures; it shook the worlds of art, literature and media. Americans began to talk about their own history differently. They physically pulled down monuments. The waves crashed against the fence of the White House, and rippled overseas.

POLITICO Magazine asked a range of thinkers to reflect on the surprising ways that Floyd’s death reshaped the country—and what hasn’t changed, too. They noted that many Americans, including political leaders, now talk about race and racism in blunter, more honest ways, and are more willing to rethink the stories we tell ourselves about who we are. Some cities are physically different, perhaps permanently.

Of course, in some cases, they said, the way we talk might be all that’s changed, and not so much the way we act. A year later, a police officer is guilty of murder, but Black people have continued to die. And the next chapter has yet to be written.

Up until a year ago, the words “systemic racism,” and the reality they represent, were toxic to many Americans—a sweeping indictment of a nation that even the most liberal white people preferred to see as a glass half full. Then George Floyd was murdered. What had been an abstract argument made in numbers and percentages by a cadre of activists and academics became impossible to deny. The dam of resistance burst, and “systemic racism”—the idea and the phrase itself—went mainstream practically overnight. Everybody from NPR to Wall Street embraced the notion, incorporating it into their reporting and advertising.

Joe Biden did something no presidential nominee, or winner, had done: He used the phrase “systemic racism” in his convention speech—and again on election night, and again in his inaugural address.

It might sound superficial to make so much of one phrase, but the implications are profound. Even many of those who still think the term goes too far are acknowledging that America’s ugly past has finally caught up to the present, and the present is reshaping our political future. This tectonic shift in public sentiment about race reminds me of what a friend and fellow journalist always told me when I despaired about the snail’s pace of social progress in America: The status quo is the status quo, until it changes. It is possible for big change to happen overnight.

Read the rest of this article at: Politico

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It sounds familiar, but in an unsettling way. The reverb and distortion, the minor key guitars, the pounding drums, the singer with no regard for his vocal cords. There is a vague sense that the creators don’t want to be there, but would rather be there than anywhere else. The lyrics contain one or two passable metaphors, but are too vague to make an emotional impact. The riff could have been lifted from any number of songs, and yet it doesn’t quite sound like a song at all.

In recent years there has been a flurry of unreleased Nirvana demos and recordings made public. If “Drowned In the Sun” were one of them, then I’m afraid we loyal and melancholy fans would be left cold. Luckily, it isn’t the new Nirvana song. It was created by Magenta, Google’s Artificial Intelligence program, which was fed MIDI files of “20 or 30” Nirvana songs to analyze and reconfigure. The single’s chord progressions and aggressive rhythms were composed and performed by a computer; the only “human” element is vocalist Eric Hogan, singer for Atlanta-based Nirvana tribute act Nevermind, performing the words and tune Magenta wrote.

Read the rest of this article at: Real Life

News 26.05.21 : Today’s Articles of Interest from Around the Internets

News 26.05.21 : Today’s Articles of Interest from Around the Internets

On 19 October 1945, 13 men gathered in Whitehall for a secret meeting. It was chaired by Courtenay Denis Carew Robinson, a senior Home Office official, and he was joined by representatives of the Foreign Office, the Ministry of War Transport, and the Liverpool police and immigration inspectorate. After the meeting, the Home Office’s aliens department opened a new file, designated HO/213/926. Its contents were not to be discussed in the House of Commons or the Lords, or with the press, or acknowledged to the public. It was titled “Compulsory repatriation of undesirable Chinese seamen”.

As the vast process of post-second world war reconstruction creaked into action, this deportation programme was, for the Home Office and Clement Attlee’s new government, just one tiny component. The country was devastated – hundreds of thousands were dead, millions were homeless, unemployment and inflation were soaring. The cost of the war had been so great that the UK would not finish paying back its debt to the US until 2006. Amid the bombsites left by the Luftwaffe, poverty, desperation and resentment were rife. In Liverpool, the city council was desperate to free up housing for returning servicemen.

During the war, as many as 20,000 Chinese seamen worked in the shipping industry out of Liverpool. They kept the British merchant navy afloat, and thus kept the people of Britain fuelled and fed while the Nazis attempted to choke off the country’s supply lines. The seamen were a vital part of the allied war effort, some of the “heroes of the fourth service” in the words of one book title about the merchant navy. Working below deck in the engine rooms, they died in their thousands on the perilous Atlantic run under heavy attack from German U-boats.

Read the rest of this article at: The Guardian

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News 26.05.21 : Today’s Articles of Interest from Around the Internets

In May 1921, the Tulsa, Okla., neighborhood of Greenwood was a fully realized antidote to the racial oppression of the time. Built in the early part of the century in a northern pocket of the city, it was a thriving community of commerce and family life to its roughly 10,000 residents.

Brick and wood-frame homes dotted the landscape, along with blocks lined with grocery stores, hotels, nightclubs, billiard halls, theaters, doctor’s offices and churches.

Greenwood was so promising, so vibrant that it became home to what was known as America’s Black Wall Street. But what took years to build was erased in less than 24 hours by racial violence — sending the dead into mass graves and forever altering family trees.

Hundreds of Greenwood residents were brutally killed, their homes and businesses wiped out. They were casualties of a furious and heavily armed white mob of looters and arsonists. One factor that drove the violence: resentment toward the Black prosperity found in block after block of Greenwood.

The financial toll of the massacre is evident in the $1.8 million in property loss claims — $27 million in today’s dollars — detailed in a 2001 state commission report. For two decades, the report has been one of the most comprehensive documentation to reveal the horrific details of the massacre — among the worst racial terror attacks in the nation’s history — as well as the government’s culpability.

Greenwood Avenue, for years a thriving hub, was destroyed by racial violence in less than 24 hours.Department of Special Collections and University Archives, McFarlin Library at The University of Tulsa

The destruction of property is only one piece of the financial devastation that the massacre wrought. Much bigger is a sobering kind of inheritance: the incalculable and enduring loss of what could have been, and the generational wealth that might have shaped and secured the fortunes of Black children and grandchildren.

“What if we had been allowed to maintain our family business?” asked Brenda Nails-Alford, who is in her early 60s. The Greenwood Avenue shoe shop of her grandfather and his brother was destroyed. “If they had been allowed to carry on that legacy,” she said, “there’s no telling where we could be now.”

For decades, what happened in Greenwood was willfully buried in history. Piecing together archival maps and photographs, with guidance from historians, The New York Times constructed a 3D model of the Greenwood neighborhood as it was before the destruction. The Times also analyzed census data, city directories, newspaper articles, and survivor tapes and testimonies from that time to show the types of people who made up the neighborhood and contributed to its vibrancy.

Perhaps no other collection of businesses tells the story of Greenwood and Black entrepreneurship better than the 100 block of Greenwood Avenue, rising near the southern tip of the neighborhood. This marquee block was the pulse of the Black business community.

“My grandfather often talked about how you could enjoy a full life in Greenwood, that everything you needed or wanted was in Greenwood. You never had to go anywhere,” said Star Williams, 40, the granddaughter of Otis Grandville Clark, who was 18 during the massacre. “He talked about seeing Black success and how his sense of identity and pride came from Greenwood.”

The businesses on Greenwood Avenue were owned by people who were among Tulsa’s most prominent Black citizens.

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

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