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News 06.10.21 : Today’s Articles of Interest from Around the Internets

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News 06.10.21 : Today’s Articles of Interest from Around the Internets
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News 06.10.21 : Today’s Articles of Interest from Around the Internets
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News 06.10.21 : Today’s Articles of Interest from Around the Internets
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NARSAQ, Greenland — This huge, remote and barely habited island is known for frozen landscapes, remote fjords and glaciers that heave giant sheets of ice into the sea.

But increasingly Greenland is known for something else: rare minerals. It’s all because of climate change and the world’s mad dash to accelerate the development of green technology.

As global warming melts the ice that covers 80 percent of the island, it has spurred demand for Greenland’s potentially abundant reserves of hard-to-find minerals with names like neodymium and dysprosium. These so-called rare earths, used in wind turbines, electric motors and many other electronic devices, are essential raw materials as the world tries to break its addiction to fossil fuels.

China has a near monopoly on these minerals. The realization that Greenland could be a rival supplier has set off a modern gold rush.

Global superpowers are jostling for influence. Billionaire investors are making big bets. Mining companies have staked claims throughout the island in a quest that also includes nickel, cobalt, titanium and, yes, gold.

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

News 06.10.21 : Today’s Articles of Interest from Around the Internets

News 06.10.21 : Today’s Articles of Interest from Around the Internets

There is a sunny earnestness to Dawn Dorland, an un-self-conscious openness that endears her to some people and that others have found to be a little extra. Her friends call her a “feeler”: openhearted and eager, pressing to make connections with others even as, in many instances, she feels like an outsider. An essayist and aspiring novelist who has taught writing classes in Los Angeles, she is the sort of writer who, in one authorial mission statement, declares her faith in the power of fiction to “share truth,” to heal trauma, to build bridges. (“I’m compelled at funerals to shake hands with the dusty men who dig our graves,” she has written.) She is known for signing off her emails not with “All best” or “Sincerely,” but “Kindly.”

On June 24, 2015, a year after completing her M.F.A. in creative writing, Dorland did perhaps the kindest, most consequential thing she might ever do in her life. She donated one of her kidneys, and elected to do it in a slightly unusual and particularly altruistic way. As a so-called nondirected donation, her kidney was not meant for anyone in particular but instead was part of a donation chain, coordinated by surgeons to provide a kidney to a recipient who may otherwise have no other living donor. There was some risk with the procedure, of course, and a recovery to think about, and a one-kidney life to lead from that point forward. But in truth, Dorland, in her 30s at the time, had been wanting to do it for years. “As soon as I learned I could,” she told me recently, on the phone from her home in Los Angeles, where she and her husband were caring for their toddler son and elderly pit bull (and, in their spare time, volunteering at dog shelters and searching for adoptive families for feral cat litters). “It’s kind of like not overthinking love, you know?”

Several weeks before the surgery, Dorland decided to share her truth with others. She started a private Facebook group, inviting family and friends, including some fellow writers from GrubStreet, the Boston writing center where Dorland had spent many years learning her craft. After her surgery, she posted something to her group: a heartfelt letter she’d written to the final recipient of the surgical chain, whoever they may be.

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

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Greta Thunberg has made the ultimate sacrifice for the Guardian. She’s allowed us to turn her into a human oil spillage. The treacly black stuff is dripping from her hair, down her nose, past her cheeks on to her neck and shoulders.

Down, down, down it drips. By the time we speak on Zoom, a day later, she has just about got herself cleaned up. Has she ever been covered in oil before? (It’s actually a mixture of non-toxic finger paint and olive oil.) “No,” she says. This is a typical Thunberg answer – short, factual, to the point. She never likes to waste her words. How did it feel? “It felt better than I thought it would feel. I had a ribbon on my hair to not get my hair black, but then it spilt through the ribbon so my hair was completely black. It was very difficult to get off.” I suggest that she sues the Guardian. “Yes,” she says. Thunberg isn’t smiling.

We talk first thing on a Sunday. Look at Thunberg and she seems little changed – still elfin-like and earnest; still quoting the climate science with fastidious politeness; and still with that curious mix of pessimism (we’re doomed if we don’t act) and optimism (we can avert catastrophe if we do). But, as she relaxes, I begin to discover that this is a very different Thunberg from the one she presented to the public in 2018. While she has done much to change our perspective of the world, the world has done much to change her – and, she says, for the better. Despite the climate crisis deepening by the day, Greta Thunberg has learned how to be happy.

Read the rest of this article at: The Guardian

News 06.10.21 : Today’s Articles of Interest from Around the Internets

News 06.10.21 : Today’s Articles of Interest from Around the Internets

Just after 7.20pm on 20 October 1981, the 100 or so guests for the Booker prize ceremony sat down under the oak panelling of the Stationers’ Hall in the City of London. Dinner was mousse of avocado and spiced mushrooms, goujons of sole, breast of pheasant Souvaroff, black cherry pancake and hazelnut bombe. The menu’s vaguely fashionable ingredients (avocado!) announced the year’s prize as at least tentatively modern. (Back in 1975, there had been la tortue verte en tasse (green turtle soup), a dish from another age altogether.) Among the guests were prominent figures, then and now, of London’s cultural scene: Joan Bakewell, Alan Yentob, Claire Tomalin. The seating plan had been kept flexible in case Italo Calvino declared himself available at the last moment.

It was the year BBC began regular live TV coverage of the Booker prize, which was as fundamental to its fame, through the great era of terrestrial television, as the carefully encouraged scandals that regularly detonated around it. The year before, Anthony Burgess had demanded to know the result in advance, saying he would refuse to attend if William Golding had won – which he had. The prize’s administrator, Martyn Goff, leaked the story, and Burgess’s literary flounce made for gleeful headlines. Over Goff’s 34 years in charge, many more semi-accurate snippets from the judging room were let slip. “I was somewhat dismayed to find that purposive, often very misleading, leaking was going on,” Hilary Mantel, a judge in 1990, told me. It was by such steps that the Booker became not just a book prize, but a heady tangle of arguments, controversy and speculation: a cultural institution.

The 1981 TV broadcast included an interview with a bookie from Ladbrokes. Muriel Spark’s novel Loitering With Intent was the favourite, at 7-4. DM Thomas’s The White Hotel was, at 3-1, expected by many to come through. Also in the running were Molly Keane, Ian McEwan, Ann Schlee, Doris Lessing and Salman Rushdie. Bookies’ odds, a regular feature of the prize, strike some as undignified when transported from the racecourse to the field of serious literature. But the Booker was always intended, according to an early memo, to provoke “tension and anticipation”, and enough of it, it was hoped, “to cause people to wait outside the building where the final session is in progress, because they can’t bear to wait a minute longer than necessary to get the news”.

Read the rest of this article at: The Guardian

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News 06.10.21 : Today’s Articles of Interest from Around the Internets

In recent months you may have heard about something called the metaverse. Maybe you’ve read that the metaverse is going to replace the internet. Maybe we’re all supposed to live there. Maybe Facebook (or Epic, or Roblox, or dozens of smaller companies) is trying to take it over. And maybe it’s got something to do with NFTs?

Unlike a lot of things The Verge covers, the metaverse is tough to explain for one reason: it doesn’t necessarily exist. It’s partly a dream for the future of the internet and partly a neat way to encapsulate some current trends in online infrastructure, including the growth of real-time 3D worlds.

But let’s get to the fun part. Will you start checking your Facebook feed in Fortnite with a pair of augmented reality glasses? Will your friends invite you to cyber-brunch instead of normal brunch? Time to jack in and figure it out.

SO, THE METAVERSE. THAT STARTED AS A SCIENCE FICTION THING, RIGHT?

Correct. Neal Stephenson famously coined the term “metaverse” in his 1992 novel Snow Crash, where it referred to a 3D virtual world inhabited by avatars of real people. Lots of other science fiction media includes metaverse-like systems (some of them predating Snow Crash). But Stephenson’s book remains one of the most common reference points for metaverse enthusiasts, along with Ernest Cline’s 2011 novel Ready Player One.

AREN’T BOTH THOSE BOOKS SET IN HORRIBLE DYSTOPIAS?

Snow Crash’s metaverse is an outgrowth of Stephenson’s satirical corporation-dominated future America, but it’s undeniably depicted as having a cool side. (The protagonist is a master hacker who gets in katana fights at a virtual nightclub. No amount of narrative self-awareness can fool readers into thinking that’s not supposed to be fun.) Ready Player One’s virtual world is symbolically named the OASIS, and Cline portrays it as an almost utopian source of escapism in a horrible future.

On one hand, emulating the virtual worlds of Snow Crash or Ready Player One is less deliberately creepy than naming your tech initiative “Skynet” or your nutrient shake after Soylent Green. On the other hand, science fiction stories can conjure a vivid picture of “the metaverse” without illuminating how it should work or why it should exist.

Read the rest of this article at: The Verge

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