News 06.09.21 : Today’s Articles of Interest from Around the Internets


News 06.09.21 : Today’s Articles of Interest from Around the Internets
News 06.09.21 : Today’s Articles of Interest from Around the Internets
News 06.09.21 : Today’s Articles of Interest from Around the Internets

Virgil Abloh is the quintessential contemporary fashion designer: he knows streetwear and luxury are one and the same, and collaborates with Nike as easily as he does with Chrome Hearts. As a public figure, he’s as well known as the products he makes, from garments labeled with quote marks to hyped-out accessories that spike his collections at Louis Vuitton.

He also likes to copy. Nearly every one of his collections, for Off-White and Louis Vuitton, includes at least one garment or idea that seems to have appeared in another fashion designer’s collection first, and that sparks active debate online. And yet his penchant for copying is arguably his most considered practice. After all, the work that first yanked him into the menswear spotlight, Pyrex Vision, was a collection of tweaked readymades—like flannels from Ralph Lauren’s Rugby line screenprinted with “PYREX” on the back.

Read the rest of this article at: GQ

News 06.09.21 : Today’s Articles of Interest from Around the Internets

News 06.09.21 : Today’s Articles of Interest from Around the Internets

Angelina Jolie sits at a desk, back straight as a rule and rather regal. Her features are cartoonishly beautiful – straight black hair, vertiginous cheekbones, huge blue eyes and lips like a plumped red sofa. She is talking on Zoom to four young activists. It is a horribly apt day to be discussing human rights – the Taliban has just captured Ghazni city on its approach to Kabul, the capital of Afghanistan.

If this were a movie, you might suspect Jolie was playing a divine leader addressing the fortunate few. Yet it soon becomes apparent that things aren’t quite as they seem. The actor and film director is the one in awe, not the activists. The young people talk about the work they have done raising awareness of the carnage in Syria, the environmental crisis, trans rights and food poverty. Jolie hangs on their every word. She tells them they have inspired her children who follow their work, warns them against burnout, apologises for the failings of her generation and says how honoured she is to meet them.

The next evening it is just Jolie and I Zooming. In the background I can hear kids playing. Our conversation is frequently interrupted by the ferocious roar of her rottweiler Dusty, who appears to believe he is a lion. It’s been an even more depressing day for human rights – the Taliban has entered Kabul and toppled the Afghanistan government. Jolie says the only thing giving her hope is the young people we met last night. “They speak about these issues with more urgency and awareness of what is morally right and decent than any politician, any diplomat, any NGOs I’ve worked with.”

Read the rest of this article at: The Guardian

One day, Johnny discovers there’s a contract on his life. (Apparently, his head contains “hundreds of megabytes” pilfered from the Yakuza.) He falls in with a street tough named Molly Millions. Molly has mirrored lenses for eyes and keeps retractable scalpels beneath burgundy fingernails. A Yakuza assassin on their heels, Molly and Johnny eventually retreat to “Lo Tek” country, up in the rafters of one of the sprawling geodesic domes that span cities and their mushrooming subcultures.

It’s been four decades since William Gibson’s short story “Johnny Mnemonic” appeared in the May 1981 issue of Omni magazine. He’d already published a couple of pieces, but “Johnny” was a landmark feat of fiction: in a matter of eight magazine pages, Gibson roughed out the contours of an entire world.

Read the rest of this article at: The Walrus

News 06.09.21 : Today’s Articles of Interest from Around the Internets

News 06.09.21 : Today’s Articles of Interest from Around the Internets

Steve Potash, the bearded and bespectacled president and C.E.O. of OverDrive, spent the second week of March, 2020, on a business trip to New York City. OverDrive distributes e-books and audiobooks—i.e., “digital content.” In New York, Potash met with two clients: the New York Public Library and Houghton Mifflin Harcourt. By then, Potash had already heard what he described to me recently as “heart-wrenching stories” from colleagues in China, about neighborhoods that were shut down owing to the coronavirus. He had an inkling that his business might be in for big changes when, toward the end of the week, on March 13th, the N.Y.P.L. closed down and issued a statement: “The responsible thing to do—and the best way to serve our patrons right now—is to help minimize the spread of COVID-19.” The library added, “We will continue to offer access to e-books.”

The sudden shift to e-books had enormous practical and financial implications, not only for OverDrive but for public libraries across the country. Libraries can buy print books in bulk from any seller that they choose, and, thanks to a legal principle called the first-sale doctrine, they have the right to lend those books to any number of readers free of charge. But the first-sale doctrine does not apply to digital content. For the most part, publishers do not sell their e-books or audiobooks to libraries—they sell digital distribution rights to third-party venders, such as OverDrive, and people like Steve Potash sell lending rights to libraries. These rights often have an expiration date, and they make library e-books “a lot more expensive, in general, than print books,” Michelle Jeske, who oversees Denver’s public-library system, told me. Digital content gives publishers more power over prices, because it allows them to treat libraries differently than they treat other kinds of buyers. Last year, the Denver Public Library increased its digital checkouts by more than sixty per cent, to 2.3 million, and spent about a third of its collections budget on digital content, up from twenty per cent the year before.

Read the rest of this article at: The New Yorker

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News 06.09.21 : Today’s Articles of Interest from Around the Internets

In late summer of 1976, two colleagues at Oxford University Press, Michael Rodgers and Richard Charkin, were discussing a book on evolution soon to be published. It was by a first-time author, a junior zoology don in town, and had been given an initial print run of 5,000 copies. As the two publishers debated the book’s fate, Charkin confided that he doubted it would sell more than 2,000 copies. In response, Rodgers, who was the editor who had acquired the manuscript, suggested a bet whereby he would pay Charkin £1 for every 1,000 copies under 5,000, and Charkin was to buy Rodgers a pint of beer for every 1,000 copies over 5,000. By now, the book is one of OUP’s most successful titles, and it has sold more than a million copies in dozens of languages, spread across four editions. That book was Richard Dawkins’s The Selfish Gene, and Charkin is ‘holding back payment in the interests of [Rodgers’s] health and wellbeing’.

In the decades following that bet, The Selfish Gene has come to play a unique role in evolutionary biology, simultaneously influential and contentious. At the heart of the disagreements lay the book’s advocacy of what has become known as the gene’s-eye view of evolution. To its supporters, the gene’s-eye view presents an unrivalled introduction to the logic of natural selection. To its critics, ‘selfish genes’ is a dated metaphor that paints a simplistic picture of evolution while failing to incorporate recent empirical findings. To me, it is one of biology’s most powerful thinking tools. However, as with all tools, in order to make the most of it, you must understand what it was designed to do.

When Charles Darwin first introduced his theory of evolution by natural selection in 1859, he had in mind a theory about individual organisms. In Darwin’s telling, individuals differ in how long they live and how good they are at attracting mates; if the traits that enhance these strengths are heritable, they will become more abundant over time. The gene’s-eye view discussed by Dawkins introduces a shift in perspective that might seem subtle at first, but which comes with rather radical implications.

Read the rest of this article at: aeon

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