News 09.07.21 : Today’s Articles of Interest from Around the Internets


News 09.07.21 : Today’s Articles of Interest from Around the Internets
News 09.07.21 : Today’s Articles of Interest from Around the Internets
News 09.07.21 : Today’s Articles of Interest from Around the Internets

Life is a journey.

In the past few weeks, my journey took an unexpected path but one that has taught me so much and helped me grow. I learned a couple of key lessons.

Lesson one: you can never please everyone. The world is as divided now as I can remember in my short 23 years. Issues that are so obvious to me at face value, like wearing a mask in a pandemic or kneeling to show support for anti-racism, are ferociously contested. I mean, wow. So, when I said I needed to miss French Open press conferences to take care of myself mentally, I should have been prepared for what unfolded.

Lesson two was perhaps more enriching. It has become apparent to me that literally everyone either suffers from issues related to their mental health or knows someone who does. The number of messages I received from such a vast cross section of people confirms that. I think we can almost universally agree that each of us is a human being and subject to feelings and emotions.

Perhaps my actions were confusing to some because there are two slightly different issues at play. In my mind they overlap, and that’s why I spoke about them together, but let’s separate them for the sake of discussion.

Read the rest of this article at: Time

News 09.07.21 : Today’s Articles of Interest from Around the Internets

News 09.07.21 : Today’s Articles of Interest from Around the Internets

Maybe you know the routine. Every so often, I go through my refrigerator, check labels on the items, and throw out anything that’s a month, or a week, or maybe a few days past the date on the label. I might stop to sniff, but for my whole adult life, I’ve figured that the problem was obvious — my jam or almond milk or package of shredded Italian cheese blend had “expired” — and the fix was simple: Into the garbage it goes.

This habit is so ingrained that when I think about eating food that’s gone past its date, I get a little queasy. I’ve only had food poisoning once or twice in my life, always from restaurants, but the idea is still there in my head: past the date, food will make me sick. You’ll probably never catch me dumpster-diving.

I know, on some intellectual level, that throwing away food is probably wrong. The statistics are damning. Forty percent of food produced in America heads to the landfill or is otherwise wasted. That adds up. Every year, the average American family throws out somewhere between $1,365 and $2,275, according to a landmark 2013 study co-authored by the Harvard Food Law and Policy Clinic and the Natural Resources Defense Council. It’s a huge economic loss for food growers and retailers, who often have to ditch weirdly shaped produce or overstocked food that didn’t sell.

Environmentally it’s bad, too. The study found that 25 percent of fresh water in the US goes toward producing food that goes uneaten, and 21 percent of input to our landfills is food, which represents a per-capita increase of 50 percent since 1974. Right now, landfills are piled high with wasted food, most of which was perfectly fine to eat — and some of which still is.

Read the rest of this article at: Vox

The Balmoral in Chestnut

Shop the Balmoral in Chestnut
at Belgrave Crescent &

Owning things used to be simple. You went to the store. You paid money for something, whether it be a TV, clothes, books, toys, or electronics. You took your item home, and once you paid it off, that thing belonged to you. It was yours. You could do whatever you wanted with it. That’s not how it is today, and by 2030, technology will have advanced to the point that even the idea of owning objects might be obsolete.

Many a think piece has been written about how Millennials aren’t as interested in owning things as their predecessors. After decades of Boomers keeping up with the Joneses, Millennials were supposedly “more about the experience” than physical goods. There’s a kernel of truth in that, but the shift to services was telegraphed a long time ago.

Back in 2016, the World Economic Forum released a Facebook video with eight predictions it had for the world in 2030. “You’ll own nothing. And you’ll be happy,” it says. “Whatever you want, you’ll rent. And it’ll be delivered by drone.”

Read the rest of this article at: Gizmado

News 09.07.21 : Today’s Articles of Interest from Around the Internets

Napoleon Bonaparte is arguably the most famous Frenchman who ever lived. But this year, as the country commemorates the bicentennial of his death, a fierce controversy is raging over the emperor’s legacy. Despite his glories, detractors point to the darker side of the ledger: Napoleon destroyed the republic founded in the aftermath of the French Revolution, led hundreds of thousands of soldiers to die in a futile invasion of Russia, imposed a civil code that put women under male domination, and—most egregiously—reestablished slavery in French colonies, including the island of Saint-Domingue (now Haiti) in 1802, nine years after the revolutionary convention had abolished it—a decision that French president Emmanuel Macron recently called a “mistake, a betrayal of the spirit of Enlightenment.” In the words of Françoise Vergès, a political scientist and militant feminist, Napoleon “was a racist, sexist, despot, militarist, and colonizer, but all of that is generally swept under the rug.” Not anymore.

The debate over Napoleon’s merits and demerits goes far deeper than the assessment of a long-dead ruler. It is part of a fundamental reexamination of France’s history, culture, and society. On the one hand, there are the traditionalists who defend France’s “universal” values of republicanism, egalitarianism, secularism, and national unity; on the other, an increasingly vocal faction—derided as avatars of what they call American-style wokisme—focuses on issues steeped in identity politics, postcolonialism, anti-racism, and feminism. And beyond that debate, the country is undergoing profound political, economic, and demographic changes that portend a very different France emerging from the COVID-19 pandemic.

On the political front, France is losing faith in its traditional parties and leaders. Former president Nicolas Sarkozy was recently convicted in a corruption scheme and handed a three-year jail sentence, two years of which were suspended. He went on trial in May for alleged improper campaign financing during his unsuccessful 2012 attempt at reelection. His former prime minister François Fillon was convicted of paying his wife more than a million euros out of public funds for a fictitious job. (Both cases are under appeal.) And these are just the more prominent examples of French politicians running afoul of the law. Some analysts blame the wave of guilty verdicts on activism by left-leaning judges. But the main effect is to feed into a populist rejection of the whole political class as tous pourris—all rotten.

Read the rest of this article at: Vanity Fair

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News 09.07.21 : Today’s Articles of Interest from Around the Internets

On Jan. 6, after monitoring the messages domestic extremists were posting on Facebook, the company’s security experts became increasingly worried there might be violence in Washington, D.C. The team warned top executives, who even mulled asking their C.E.O., Mark Zuckerberg, to call Donald Trump and find out what the president was intending to tell his mob of supporters then gathering to protest the election results. But the executives scrapped that plan, worried the media would find out about such a phone call and Facebook would be implicated in whatever happened next.

Instead, they sat at home and watched as Trump stirred up the furious crowd, and as threats in Facebook posts escalated into real-world attacks on the Capitol. Days later, in a video interview with Reuters, Sheryl Sandberg, the company’s chief operating officer, blamed the riots on far-right niche social media sites, such as Gab and Parler, “that don’t have our abilities to stop hate, don’t have our standards and don’t have our transparency.”

By the time this anecdote appears in “An Ugly Truth,” the exposé written by the New York Times reporters Sheera Frenkel and Cecilia Kang, it’s part of a familiar pattern: The social media behemoth does as little as possible to prevent disasters from happening, then feebly attempts to avoid blame and manage public appearances. The same series of events — an unheeded warning from an employee or an outsider, followed by executives’ inaction, followed by crisis — repeats with regard to users’ data privacy, Russia’s influence in American elections, ethnic violence in Myanmar and on and on.

This is a book intended to make you outraged at Facebook. But if you’ve read anything about the company in recent years, you probably already are. Frenkel and Kang faced the challenge of unearthing new and interesting material about one of the most heavily debated communication tools of our modern age. More than 400 interviews later, they’ve produced the ultimate takedown via careful, comprehensive interrogation of every major Facebook scandal. “An Ugly Truth” provides the kind of satisfaction you might get if you hired a private investigator to track a cheating spouse: It confirms your worst suspicions and then gives you all the dates and details you need to cut through the company’s spin.

The market has not lacked for Facebook books. There are insiders and academics plainly out to prosecute, such as Roger McNamee in “Zucked” and Siva Vaidhyanathan in “Antisocial Media,” and authors who write more impartial histories of the company’s rise to power, such as Steven Levy with “Facebook” and David Kirkpatrick with “The Facebook Effect.”

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

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