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News 05.07.21 : Today’s Articles of Interest from Around the Internets

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News 05.07.21 : Today’s Articles of Interest from Around the Internets
@lenaterlutter
News 05.07.21 : Today’s Articles of Interest from Around the Internets
@joshyoungdesignhouse
News 05.07.21 : Today’s Articles of Interest from Around the Internets
@lenaterlutter

On Halloween night 2019, the Canadian tennis player Vasek Pospisil faced Chris O’Connell, an Australian, in a third-round match at the Charlottesville Men’s Pro Challenger in Virginia. The event was part of the A.T.P. Challenger Tour, a rung below the main circuit in men’s tennis. The match had a minor-league vibe: There were maybe a dozen spectators, and one of them was Pospisil’s coach. The total purse for the weeklong tournament was just $54,000, not uncommon for Challenger-level events. The winner would get $7,200.

Pospisil, a former Wimbledon doubles champion who sometimes sips maple syrup for energy during matches, was playing there as part of his comeback from an injury that sidelined him for the first half of the 2019 season. A strapping 6-foot-4 with perpetually flushed cheeks and thighs that look as if they were stolen from a linebacker, Pospisil has an aggressive game built around a big first serve, a concussive forehand and a deft touch at the net. O’Connell normally plays attacking tennis himself. Against Pospisil, however, he was thrust into the role of counterpuncher.

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

News 05.07.21 : Today’s Articles of Interest from Around the Internets

News 05.07.21 : Today’s Articles of Interest from Around the Internets

On June 22nd, Britney Spears’s management team started getting nervous. Spears, who is thirty-nine, has spent the past thirteen years living under a conservatorship, a legal structure in which a person’s personal, economic, and legal decision-making power is ceded to others. Called a guardianship in most states, the arrangement is intended for people who cannot take care of themselves. Since the establishment of Spears’s conservatorship, she has released four albums, headlined a global tour that grossed a hundred and thirty-one million dollars, and performed for four years in a hit Las Vegas residency. Yet her conservators, who include her father, Jamie Spears, have controlled her spending, communications, and personal decisions.

In April, Spears had requested a hearing, in open court, to discuss the terms of the arrangement. It was scheduled for June 23rd. Members of Spears’s team, most of whom have had little or no direct contact with her for years, didn’t expect drastic changes to result. Two years earlier, in the midst of health struggles and pressure from Spears, Jamie had stepped down from his duties overseeing her personal life, and now the team thought that perhaps she wanted to remove him as the conservator of her financial affairs. Some of the team told reporters that they believed Spears liked the conservatorship arrangement, as long as her father wasn’t involved.

Running the business of Britney had become routine: every Thursday at noon, about ten people responsible for managing Spears’s legal and business affairs, public relations, and social media met to discuss merchandise deals, song-license requests, and Spears’s posts to Instagram and Twitter. (“This is how it works without her,” one member of the team said.) Spears, according to her management, typically writes the posts and submits them to CrowdSurf, a company employed to handle her social media, which then uploads them. In rare cases, posts that raise legal questions have been deemed too sensitive to upload. “She’s not supposed to discuss the conservatorship,” the team member said.

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

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“You have to start romanticizing your life,” a voiceover on TikTok commands. “You have to start thinking about yourself as the main character.” The brief video, uploaded last May, is shot by drone: A slowly tilting bird’s-eye view descends toward a white woman surrounded by several friends chattering on the cusp of the frame. A harp arpeggio plays. “Because if you don’t, life will continue to pass you by,” the voice continues. “And all the little things that make it so beautiful will continue to go unnoticed. So take a second and look around and realize that it is a blessing for you to be here right now.” Eyes obscured by sunglasses, the woman assumes the role of a perfectly blank character on which viewers can project themselves.

This is just one of the countless videos uploaded on TikTok since the pandemic began last year that emphasize embracing a certain “main character energy.” The meme’s viral path can be tracked: In May, @lexaprolesbian uploaded a lip-synced music video about going on a walk at the same time every day to prove that they were “the main character” to neighbors — as the lyrics put it: “Look at me — no, look away — no, please: look at me…!” The next day, @laurenisoversharing reformatted that idea as a more embodied, comic gesture: a stationary camera frames her savoring a beverage, a caption describing the cinematic trope she performs: “Drinking out of a wine glass & looking over the balcony so everyone on the beach knows I’m the main character.” Two days later, @the.quenchiest republished @lexaprolesbian’s original audio with new video, inserting her own life into the narrative described. The meme soon had a life of its own.

Read the rest of this article at: Real Life

News 05.07.21 : Today’s Articles of Interest from Around the Internets

News 05.07.21 : Today’s Articles of Interest from Around the Internets

Barrett Moore had ordered 2 million N95 masks, held enough freeze-dried food to feed families hiding from global Armageddon for decades, owned a small arsenal of guns, and fortified a pole barn in which to wait out the collapse of civilization. But he had something no one else could buy: knowledge that the end was coming and that the supply chains would snap; the best hope your family had was holing up in his northern Michigan compound while things fell apart. The price for this service would run in the hundreds of thousands of dollars, to be paid in installments. Starting in 2007, the former private military executive (who boasts of his special forces connections and a past life as a spy deployed to Australia) offered to friends and associates with enough money a chance at private salvation, claiming that he and his team could whisk them away from jihadis, electromagnetic pulses, pandemics, or any other existential threat when the great, imminent collapse of the United States came to pass. He called this service “Life Continuity.”

Moore had spent much of his professional life preparing for the worst and watching institutions fail. His career in profiting from unpreparedness dates back to the Iraq War, when Triple Canopy, the mercenary firm he co-founded in 2002, cashed in on the American military’s profoundly unprepared invasion. In 2009, Triple Canopy took over a billion-dollar contract directly from Blackwater after that company became embroiled in one of its violent scandals. But Moore never made it past 2004 at his own outfit: He left Triple Canopy after the company sued him over accusations of “unjust enrichment,” intellectual property theft, piracy, violating of the Computer Fraud and Abuse Act, and using his “power as CEO to force Triple Canopy to enter into a ‘sham’ licensing agreement,” according to court documents.

The lawsuit was settled out of court in 2005, and Moore began a new career as an end-times steward three years later. He spoke of himself in bold terms: a man of decisiveness, daring, and business acumen. In a corporate biography appearing on one of his many personal websites, Moore described himself as a “seasoned, contrarian business executive and serial entrepreneur with extensive strategy, security and supply chain experience,” having “spearheaded a series of start-ups in the manufacturing, government contracting, technology, international business, and intelligence/security sectors.” He was always sure to talk up his more unusual bona fides: “Mr. Moore served as an intelligence officer in the U.S. Army, specializing in issues related to the non-proliferation of biological weapons and related weapons of mass destruction.” As recently as February 2020, Moore claimed to have been dispatched to infiltrate an Australian car import operation by the CIA as part of a mission to apprehend its leader, “a major international crime figure thought to be trafficking in bio-weapons.”

Read the rest of this article at: The Intercept

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News 05.07.21 : Today’s Articles of Interest from Around the Internets

In August 1974, the CIA produced a study on “climatological research as it pertains to intelligence problems”. The diagnosis was dramatic. It warned of the emergence of a new era of weird weather, leading to political unrest and mass migration (which, in turn, would cause more unrest). The new era the agency imagined wasn’t necessarily one of hotter temperatures; the CIA had heard from scientists warning of global cooling as well as warming. But the direction in which the thermometer was travelling wasn’t their immediate concern; it was the political impact. They knew that the so-called “little ice age”, a series of cold snaps between, roughly, 1350 and 1850, had brought not only drought and famine, but also war – and so could these new climatic changes.

“The climate change began in 1960,” the report’s first page informs us, “but no one, including the climatologists, recognised it.” Crop failures in the Soviet Union and India in the early 1960s had been attributed to standard unlucky weather. The US shipped grain to India and the Soviets killed off livestock to eat, “and premier Nikita Khrushchev was quietly deposed”.

But, the report argued, the world ignored this warning, as the global population continued to grow and states made massive investments in energy, technology and medicine.

Meanwhile, the weird weather rolled on, shifting to a collection of west African countries just below the Sahara. People in Mauritania, Senegal, Mali, Burkina Faso, Niger and Chad “became the first victims of the climate change”, the report argued, but their suffering was masked by other struggles – or the richer parts of the world simply weren’t paying attention. As the effects of climate change started to spread to other parts of the world, the early 1970s saw reports of droughts, crop failures and floods from Burma, Pakistan, North Korea, Costa Rica, Honduras, Japan, Manila, Ecuador, USSR, China, India and the US. But few people seemed willing to see a pattern: “The headlines from around the world told a story still not fully understood or one we don’t want to face,” the report said.

Read the rest of this article at: The Guardian

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