News 08.11.21 : Today’s Articles of Interest from Around the Internets


News 08.11.21 : Today’s Articles of Interest from Around the Internets
News 08.11.21 : Today’s Articles of Interest from Around the Internets
News 08.11.21 : Today’s Articles of Interest from Around the Internets

The “China shock” was one of the most significant economic events of the last two decades in America. Most of the shock is now over — Chinese imports are competitive with much of the output of U.S. manufacturing, and China has already displaced many U.S. jobs — but there is a new and possibly larger shock on the horizon. Call it “the teleshock.”

The teleshock, or the rise in telecommuting, received a major impetus from the pandemic, when so many Americans were forced to work from home. As it turns out, many prefer this new arrangement. In any case, a fair amount of “work from a distance” is likely to persist, most of all in the technology industry, where the fundamental products are digital. Microsoft, for example, has announced that work from a distance will continue indefinitely.

Employers are only beginning to adjust to these new circumstances, however, so the full consequences of the teleshock are not yet clear. The key development will be this: To the extent that the work can be done online, companies can hire the best workers from around the world. This has long been the case in computer programming, where it is standard practice to hire talent from India. Similar trends will come to many more sectors, revolutionizing labor markets. A given job could go to someone from Nigeria, Sweden, the Philippines, Pakistan or many other locales.

Read the rest of this article at: Bloomberg

News 08.11.21 : Today’s Articles of Interest from Around the Internets

News 08.11.21 : Today’s Articles of Interest from Around the Internets

Deirdre Barrett’s body was in bed, but her mind was in a library. The library was inside a very old house, with glowing oil lamps and shelves of beautiful leatherbound books. At first it felt snug and secure and timeless, exactly the sort of place an academic like Barrett, who teaches in the psychiatry department at Harvard Medical School and edits the scientific journal Dreaming, might find inviting. But as the dream went on, she remembered later, “I became less able to focus on the library and more overwhelmed by the unseen horror outside.” Beyond the windows of the softly lit library, “a terrible plague was ravaging the world.”

When Barrett woke up, it was mid-March of 2020. She had been reading about the novel coronavirus in Wuhan since it began to make headlines, and she wondered, as she often did when she read about events in the news, how this one might be showing up in the dreams of the people who were experiencing it: residents on lockdown in China, overwhelmed doctors and nurses in Italy. The dreamlife of collective catastrophe was something she had studied repeatedly during her academic career — analyzing, for example, the dreams of Kuwaitis after the Iraqi invasion and those of British officers held prisoner by the Nazis during World War II, to see how the dreams compared with one another and with dreams from calmer times.

As a child, Barrett was fascinated by her own dreams, which were often vivid. They tended to stay with her well after she woke up, making nights feel like a time for slipping in and out of new worlds and adventures, often ones she’d read about but was now able to interact with and inhabit fully. When she grew up, she decided, she would become a writer of fiction; many of the early stories she wrote were set not just in worlds that she imagined, but also in and out of the various dream worlds of her characters. She was deeply curious about the dream lives of other people: When she started writing for her high school newspaper, she occasionally asked her sources if they’d had dreams related to whatever she was interviewing them about. Dreams were a window, albeit a very strange one, into the way that other people and their minds worked. In college Barrett decided that fiction was not her future (though she did develop a practice of making visual art about what she saw and felt while sleeping). What she wanted was to be a scientist who studied what happened inside dreams.



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

The Balmoral in Chestnut

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Over the past 100 years, the average lifespan has almost doubled. At the turn of the 20th century, in the industrialised West, you could expect to live until your 40s, on average. In the modern-day United States (and the figures are similar for other Western nations), the typical man can anticipate remaining on this Earth until he is 75. If you’re a woman, you can expect a few more years.

Although this is obviously a welcome development – largely brought about by improvements in healthcare and the defeat of infectious diseases – it is a double-edged sword. The body could well keep going throughout all these decades, but the brain might not; and, if you are left able-bodied but with a permanently compromised brain, then you will be in an unenviable position. Such is the concern that a recent survey by Alzheimer’s Research UK showed that, for almost half of the respondents, dementia is the condition they fear the most, rising to more than 60 per cent among those aged over 65.

I have worked in the area of brain health for almost 20 years in my role as a psychiatrist, and one of my major areas of interest is dementia (a progressive loss of brain function due to an illness, such as Alzheimer’s disease). I’ve come to believe that everyone should be thinking about their brain health much earlier than the age of 65. That’s because there are ways to substantially reduce your risk of dementia and cognitive impairment, and the earlier you address problematic lifestyle choices and health conditions, the more successful you are likely to be.

Avoiding dementia is only one consideration, however. Of equal importance is optimising brain function throughout your lifespan – allowing this vital organ to function at its best in the many decades before dementia becomes most relevant. Doing this will help you enjoy greater productivity, happiness and life satisfaction.

Read the rest of this article at: Psyche

News 08.11.21 : Today’s Articles of Interest from Around the Internets

News 08.11.21 : Today’s Articles of Interest from Around the Internets

I’m not going to tell you what the hostess said to Emily Ratajkowski. Instead, I will tell you this: We are having lunch at a restaurant. We consult the restaurant’s menu, which boasts many items. Ratajkowski, a model who first became famous for appearing naked in a music video, orders something. I, who have never been in a music video but have been naked many times, also order something. We remark casually on the restaurant’s ambience, noting its proximity to various locations. I turn on my recorder. Each of us is wearing clothes.

We are here to talk about Ratajkowski’s new book, “My Body.” In it, she reflects on her fraught relationship with the huge number of photographs of her body that have come to define her life and career. The book’s marquee essay, “Buying Myself Back,” which describes how Ratajkowski ended up purchasing a print of her own Instagram post from the appropriation artist Richard Prince, was published to great notice in New York magazine last fall. Ratajkowski also wrote that the photographer Jonathan Leder sexually assaulted her in his home after a photo shoot when she was 20.

At lunch, Ratajkowski explains that New York magazine took “Buying Myself Back” from her book proposal. In fact, she began working on “My Body” without anyone but herself in mind, jotting down notes on her phone as they occurred to her. One day she realized she was writing a book. Several times, Ratajkowski characterizes writing as a means of “organizing” her own thoughts — not as an act of branding but out of what strikes me as the genuine curiosity of a woman whom constant exposure has deprived of the possibility of self-knowledge.

But Ratajkowski knows she is in an impossible position as a model-turned-writer. Indeed, the author has spent her career dodging the backhanded compliment that she is the “thinking man’s naked woman.” Failure will be met with schadenfreude; success, with smug surprise. Someone recently asked her who her ghostwriter was. Others asked if her face is on the book’s cover. (It isn’t.) After “Buying Myself Back” came out, a journalist unearthed a 2018 profile in Marie Claire in which the writer Thomas Chatterton Williams lavishly praised her breasts while expressing surprise that she’d read Roberto Bolaño’s daunting novel “2666.” An irritated Ratajkowski tweeted her exhaustion with profiles that have boiled down to “She has breasts AND claims to read.”

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

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News 08.11.21 : Today’s Articles of Interest from Around the Internets

In the nightmare, sirens caterwaul as ambulances career down ice-slicked, car-crashed streets whose traffic lights flash all three colors at once (they’ve been hacked by North Korea) during a climate-catastrophic blizzard, bringing pandemic patients to hospitals without water or electricity—pitch-black, all vaccinations and medications spoiled (the power grid has been hacked by Iran)—racing past apartment buildings where people are freezing to death in their beds, families huddled together under quilts, while, outside the darkened, besieged halls of government, men wearing fur hats and Kevlar vests (social media has been hacked by Russia), flashlights strapped to their rifles, chant, “Q is true! Q is true!”

SOMEONE SHOULD DO SOMETHING,” reads the T-shirt worn by one of Nicole Perlroth’s sources, a hacker from New Zealand, in “This Is How They Tell Me the World Ends: The Cyberweapons Arms Race” (Bloomsbury). Someone should. But who? And do what? And about which of the Biblical plagues facing humankind? Perlroth is a longtime cybersecurity reporter for the Times, and her book makes a kind of Hollywood entrance, arriving when the end of the world is nigh, at least in the nightmare that, every night, gains on the day.

Perlroth is interested in one particular plague—governments using hacking as a weapon of war—but her book raises the question of whether that’s the root of a lot of other evils. For seven years, Perlroth investigated the market in “zero-days” (pronounced “oh-days”); her book is the story of that chase, and telling that story, which gets pretty technical, requires a good bit of decoding. “A zero-day is a software or hardware flaw for which there is no existing patch,” she explains. Zero-days “got their name because, as with Patient Zero in an epidemic, when a zero-day flaw is discovered, software and hardware companies have had zero days to come up with a defense.” A flaw can be harmless, but zero-days represent vulnerabilities that can be turned into weapons. And, as Perlroth demonstrates, governments have been buying them and storing them in vaults, like so many vials of the bubonic plague.

Read the rest of this article at: The New Yorker

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