News 25.08.21 : Today’s Articles of Interest from Around the Internets


News 25.08.21 : Today’s Articles of Interest from Around the Internets
News 25.08.21 : Today’s Articles of Interest from Around the Internets
News 25.08.21 : Today’s Articles of Interest from Around the Internets

THE SINGH FAMILY home is a one-storey building of brick and cement on one of the main streets in Bibipur, a village of 1,000 in Punjab, northern India. The house has cracks in its walls and a roof of wood and mud that leaks during monsoon season. It was built about sixty years ago, and every decade or so since, whenever government workers have repaved the road outside the house, they’ve simply added another layer of asphalt on top of what was already there. Over time, the road has grown higher and higher, and the house has seemed to sink in contrast.

Kushandeep Singh was born here in 1999, and by the time he was a teenager, the house sat well below grade. Whenever it rained, water would stream in off the road and the family would rush to try to hold it back as best as they could with brooms and buckets.

Read the rest of this article at: The Walrus

News 25.08.21 : Today’s Articles of Interest from Around the Internets

News 25.08.21 : Today’s Articles of Interest from Around the Internets

Luigi Zingales, a finance professor at the University of Chicago, told me that he wishes his profession spoke more candidly about accountability and impunity. Most of the time, he said, business schools find “every possible way to avoid the moral questions.” He added, “I don’t know of any alum that has been kicked out of the alumni association for immoral behavior. There are trustees of business schools today who have been convicted of bribery and insider trading, and I don’t think people notice or care.” He went on, “People are getting more and more comfortable in the gray area.”

One of the longest-running members of the White Collar Support Group is a lean and taciturn man in his forties named Tom Hardin—or, as he is known with some notoriety in Wall Street circles, Tipper X. Not long after graduating from business school at Wharton, Hardin went to work for a hedge fund in Greenwich. He had much to learn. Almost instantly, he began hearing that some competitors, such as the billionaire Raj Rajaratnam, were suspected of relying on illegal tips from company insiders. (Rajaratnam was later convicted and sentenced to eleven years.) In 2007, after Hardin became a partner at Lanexa Global Management, a hedge fund in New York, he got his own inside tip, a heads-up on an upcoming acquisition, and he traded on the information and beat the market. He repeated similar stunts three times. “I’m, like, I would never get caught if I buy a small amount of stock,” he told me. “This is like dropping a penny in the Grand Canyon.” He went on, “You can say, ‘I’m highly ethical and would never do this.’ But once you’re in the environment, and you feel like everybody else is doing it, and you feel you’re not hurting anybody? It’s very easy to convince yourself.”

Read the rest of this article at: The New Yorker

It was moving day in the California desert, and Roger Federer was up before dawn. We met on the tarmac in Thermal, a short drive from Indian Wells, where Federer had lost the day before in the final of the 2018 BNP Paribas Open to Juan Martín del Potro. Just the previous month, Federer had capped his remarkable late-career surge by reclaiming the No. 1 ranking for the first time in more than five years. At 36, he was the oldest player to hold the spot since the A.T.P. published its first rankings in 1973. But Indian Wells was a rather disappointing sequel. He served for the title against del Potro at 5-4 in the third set and failed to finish him off despite holding three match points.

It was the sort of reversal of fortune that happened rarely — but more often to Federer than to his rivals at the top of the game. He has lost more than 20 times after holding match point, while Rafael Nadal and Novak Djokovic have lost fewer than 10 such matches. “I know it’s bad to say this,” said Günter Bresnik, one of tennis’s top coaches, who has known and respected Federer since his teenage years, “but I sometimes call Federer an underachiever in tennis, considering all the matches in big tournaments he lost being already up. The guy should be at 30 Grand Slam tournaments if you’re talking about del Potro, Djokovic, Nadal and all these matches he lost where he was clearly ahead.”

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

News 25.08.21 : Today’s Articles of Interest from Around the Internets

News 25.08.21 : Today’s Articles of Interest from Around the Internets

On the morning after Juliane Diller fell to earth, she awoke in the deep jungle of the Peruvian rainforest dazed with incomprehension. Just before noon on the previous day — Christmas Eve, 1971 — Juliane, then 17, and her mother had boarded a flight in Lima bound for Pucallpa, a rough-and-tumble port city along the Ucayali River. Her final destination was Panguana, a biological research station in the belly of the Amazon, where for three years she had lived, on and off, with her mother, Maria, and her father, Hans-Wilhelm Koepcke, both zoologists.

The flight was supposed to last less than an hour. About 25 minutes after takeoff, the plane, an 86-passenger Lockheed L-188A Electra turboprop, flew into a thunderstorm and began to shake. Overhead storage bins popped open, showering passengers and crew with luggage and Christmas presents.

“My mother, who was sitting beside me, said, ‘Hopefully, this goes all right,” recalled Dr. Diller, who spoke by video from her home outside Munich, where she recently retired as deputy director of the Bavarian State Collection of Zoology. “Though I could sense her nervousness, I managed to stay calm.”

From a window seat in a back row, the teenager watched a bolt of lightning strike the plane’s right wing. She remembers the aircraft nose-diving and her mother saying, evenly, “Now it’s all over.” She remembers people weeping and screaming. And she remembers the thundering silence that followed. The aircraft had broken apart, separating her from everyone else onboard. “The next thing I knew, I was no longer inside the cabin,” Dr. Diller said. “I was outside, in the open air. I hadn’t left the plane; the plane had left me.”

As she plunged, the three-seat bench into which she was belted spun like the winged seed of a maple tree toward the jungle canopy. “From above, the treetops resembled heads of broccoli,” Dr. Diller recalled. She then blacked out, only to regain consciousness — alone, under the bench, in a torn minidress — on Christmas morning. She had fallen some 10,000 feet, nearly two miles. Her row of seats is thought to have landed in dense foliage, cushioning the impact. Juliane was the sole survivor of the crash.

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

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In a 2019 episode of politics podcast Lovett or Leave It, host Jon Lovett reads an ad for the meat subscription service Butcher Box, characteristically mixing official ad copy with his own jokey ad-libs:

This month, Butcher Box is offering finely ground beef that is clean and delicious and taken from the most [pause] favorable sections of the animal? Okay. Wow. Very intimate. The beef consists of trimming from the sirloin — is this, is this a serious ad? That is so much information. [pause] The incredible quality of Butcher Box meat starts with a commitment to raising animals free of antibiotics and hormones — unlike me.

As Lovett lists the different combinations of meat customers can choose from — “all beef, beef and chicken, beef and pork, mixed box, or a custom box” — co-host Jon Favreau asks, “Are you sure this is food?” After Lovett pitches a listener discount for a free portion of beef, the advertisement ends in a fit of giggles and hysterical shouts of “Get your beef box! Get free beef in your box! Beef box! Beef box!”

Although the tenor of this ad — in which the hosts mock the product and obscure half the copy with contagious laughter — might seem unlikely to gain Butcher Box any new subscribers, it is actually emblematic of a current trend in digital marketing: host-read podcast advertisements. In recent years, ads read directly by podcast hosts — as opposed to ads produced externally and inserted into an episode — have become coveted as a reliable and lucrative form of marketing. A 2020 report from Morning Consult, a tech consultancy, found that podcast listeners were less likely to skip over an ad read by a podcast host than a traditional ad and more likely to try a product if it were pitched directly by a host. Host-read ads were also linked to high levels of brand recall and brand loyalty among listeners. In fact, for some listeners, the personal details, in-jokery, and riffing that podcast hosts contribute to the copy has become an indispensable part of the ethos and internal world of podcasts. Giancarlo Bizzarro, the head of sales for the podcast platform Crooked Media, claims that “people reach out to us specifically and say they never skip an ad on Pod Save America. I have listeners who write in and say they’ll skip to the ads because they’re hilarious.”

Marketers tend to assert that host-read advertisements work because they tap into an ineffable human factor. “There’s no technological answer I can give you for why host-read ads are the best,” Krystina Rubino of the marketing firm Right Side Up, told Morning Consult. “It’s a human thing.” But it seems possible to be more specific than that: The format manifests a world that marketers have long dreamed of, in which ads have been superseded by a benevolent network of recommenders with the best interests of the consumers at heart. Everything from the listener’s trust in the host to the affective bonds of fandom and the biological intimacy of audio (particularly headphone) consumption reinforces that experience. Whereas targeted ads and programmatic advertising can evoke the sinister world of pervasive surveillance and limitless algorithmic assessment, listening to host-read ads can register as doing a friend a favor.

Read the rest of this article at: Real Life

News 25.08.21 : Today’s Articles of Interest from Around the Internets

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