News 20.08.21 : Today’s Articles of Interest from Around the Internets


News 20.08.21 : Today’s Articles of Interest from Around the Internets
News 20.08.21 : Today’s Articles of Interest from Around the Internets
News 20.08.21 : Today’s Articles of Interest from Around the Internets

There’s a guy hovering over the asphalt, way, way down the street, a head with a ball cap and sunglasses. When you can see his whole body, it turns out he’s riding a bicycle, which was why it looked like he was hovering. He’s half standing on the bike, one leg straight, lips pursed to the relative wind, like a kid cruising to the bike racks at school. The bike maintains speed even though he’s not pedaling. He wears long pants, though the weather is warm. This could be the start of the article, I’m thinking.

But what’s this? There’s another guy hovering behind him, on another bike. Two people. So maybe it’s not him? Except now that he’s closer, it’s almost definitely him: craggily handsome face, blond hair shagging down from under the ball cap, really cool plaid shirt.

Read the rest of this article at: Esquire

News 20.08.21 : Today’s Articles of Interest from Around the Internets

News 20.08.21 : Today’s Articles of Interest from Around the Internets

On a sweltering July day, an unlikely group arrived at a shooting range in central Texas. There was Kevin Pan, CEO of the Chinese cryptocurrency mining company Poolin, and his two vice presidents, Qian Xiong and Alejandro De La Torre. It was just one stop on a sprawling, statewide tour that spanned industrial power plants, trying on sleek cowboy hats with oil prospectors, and learning how to handle AR-15 rifles.

The atmosphere was easy with their “American cowboy friends,” De La Torre told Rest of World. “Everyone here is a capitalist, and everyone wants Bitcoin to succeed,” De La Torre said. “Everyone wants to make money.”

Despite their optimism, Poolin’s executive team has been on the move, restless, for nearly three months. The Hong Kong–headquartered company is one of the world’s largest Bitcoin mining pools, groups that combine resources to mine cryptocurrency more effectively. Poolin holds the second-largest share of the global Bitcoin hashrate — a measure of the computing power it takes to mine new Bitcoin — with a network of operations across Berlin, Beijing, Chengdu, Changsha, and Singapore.

They were thrown into chaos in May, when China’s State Council banned cryptocurrency mining and trading in the country. “We were, the next day, on a flight out,” De La Torre said. “I was flying out of Germany, and my colleagues were flying out of China.” His tone was pragmatic. “Okay, I’ve got more work [to do]. That’s it.”

Read the rest of this article at: rest of world

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News 20.08.21 : Today’s Articles of Interest from Around the Internets

Put the ice cream near the cash registers.

That is traditional grocery store wisdom, mainly so the product won’t melt in the cart as it winds through the aisles.

For shoppers worn down by the journey through a hangar-size Whole Foods, it’s also a reward: an ultradecadent bounty in an ever-multiplying variety of daring and imaginative flavors.

It has never been a better time to eat ice cream or a more cutthroat time to try to sell it.

Fueled by pandemic trends of “at-home comfort” and “anytime eating,” the $7 billion industry grew 17 percent in 2020, after roughly 2.4 percent annual growth over the previous decade, said Jennifer Mapes-Christ of the market research firm Packaged Facts. Artisan ice cream — a “squishy” term, she said, that usually refers to product with less air and more fat but “mostly just means ‘fancy’” — is growing even faster than mainstream ice cream and is considered the industry’s future.

Small, indie producers like Jennifer Dundas, the co-founder of Blue Marble in Brooklyn, have driven the innovation in the past decade. Ms. Dundas has been in the field for 14 years, but I’ve known her even longer — we grew up in the same Boston suburb — and through her have seen how ruthless selling organic banana cream pie ice cream in biodegradable bowls can be.

The spoils of success — tens of millions of dollars in incubation deals, plus the potential for hundreds of millions more if a label is bought by a giant like Unilever — have heightened competition in the $10-a-pint world. Now the business of gourmet ice cream is go big or melt.

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

News 20.08.21 : Today’s Articles of Interest from Around the Internets

When stay-at-home orders went into effect in the spring of 2020, confined to my Oakland neighborhood while caring for an infant and teaching remotely, I started an ethnographic project close to home: A continuation of my research on how independent brick-and mortar shops were navigating the shift to online sales, combining tech-savvy, influencer skills with the standard operating procedures of running a storefront. Small, non-essential shop owners repurposed their homes as staging, warehouse, and packing and shipping centers as they moved their wares online. For years before the pandemic, social media platforms like Instagram, e-commerce and point-of-sale platforms like Shopify, and niche e-commerce sites like Etsy became spaces for showcasing merchandise and facilitating transactions, for individual sellers and small-scale branded merchants alike. At the start of the pandemic, with storefronts closed to in-store browsing, shop owners turned to online sales to make ends meet.

I quickly found that care responsibilities also affected shop owners’ ability to stay afloat. For Lucy, a vintage boutique owner and a single mother of a 10-year-old, Zoom school meant she did not have childcare for her son during the day. She closed her brick-and-mortar store and began selling her rarer vintage items on eBay in between parenting tasks. Not seeing people in the store took away the part of the job she liked the most. She was also more nervous about maintaining her Instagram content during a personally difficult time. How much should she reveal to customers? On occasion, she posted life updates on her store account, but she also needed to translate post views into sales so she could pay her mortgage. She started sewing her own cloth facemasks out of deadstock vintage fabrics and listed them on Etsy along with her vintage goods.

Ali Alkhatib, Michael S. Bernstein, and Margaret Levi draw comparisons between historical forms of piecework, including farm and domestic laborers, match-makers, and industrial workers, and contemporary on-demand work through platforms like TaskRabbit and Upwork. All of these forms of work are broken down into small discrete tasks and paid by output rather than by time. Pieceworkers, much like gig workers, are not paid for their “down time” between tasks, but compensated according to tasks completed. For instance, a Gig Workers Collective letter to Instacart’s CEO claims that their lack of commission and payment by the batch instead of by the order translates into an abysmally low base pay.

Read the rest of this article at: Real Life

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News 20.08.21 : Today’s Articles of Interest from Around the Internets

It’s a luminous July morning when I arrive in Coney Island and I feel the same excitement I did when I was 9 and, on warm summer Sundays, my father and I would leave our apartment in Manhattan and drive to this southernmost coast of Brooklyn. The Atlantic Ocean looks exactly as it used to — a deep cerulean blue — and the first little girl I see has pink cotton candy stuck in her hair. Already I can smell the ineluctable scent of a Nathan’s Famous hot dog.

For me, the magic of that old Brooklyn was Passover dinner at my Aunt Lil’s in Flatbush, my father’s brothers kvetching about the departure of the Brooklyn Dodgers from Ebbets Field in 1957 — they would be mad about it for decades — and those trips to Coney Island in the late 1950s, when it was a child’s dreamscape of rides and food, of beach and boardwalk, and we would return home sunburned, stuffed with banana frozen custard and drowsy from the day’s delights.

A few minutes’ walk south from the Coney Island subway stop, Nathan’s Famous remains at the corner of Stillwell and Surf Avenues, where it’s been since it opened in 1916 and sold dogs for a nickel each. The building is a lot bigger now — it takes up nearly a whole city block — but its shed-like structure is still topped by a sign with the original, iconic green logo. Above that towers a metal cutout of a sausage sporting a chef’s hat and across the facade, green and pink-orange neon letters spell out: NATHAN’S, SEAFOOD, DELICATESSEN. On the east side is a billboard displaying stats from the Nathan’s Famous Hot Dog Eating Contest, which has taken place here each July 4 since the ’70s; this year, the reigning champ, Joey Chestnut, shoved 76 sausages and buns down his gullet in 10 minutes. Thousands watched on TV. For me, though, the experience of eating a Nathan’s dog is something to be savored — it’s about nostalgia.

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

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