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News 15.11.21 : Today’s Articles of Interest from Around the Internets

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News 15.11.21 : Today’s Articles of Interest from Around the Internets
@katiemitchellphotography
News 15.11.21 : Today’s Articles of Interest from Around the Internets
@katiemitchellphotography
News 15.11.21 : Today’s Articles of Interest from Around the Internets
@sarahdebeaumont

Something unnatural is afoot. Our affinities are increasingly no longer our own, but rather are selected for us for the purpose of automated economic gain. The automation of our cognition and the predictive power of technology to monetize our behavior, indeed our very thinking, is transforming not only our societies and discourse with one another, but also our very neurochemistry. It is a late chapter of a larger story, about the deepening incursion of mercantile thinking into the groundwater of our philosophical ideals. This technology is no longer just shaping the world around us, but actively remaking us from within.

That we are subject to the dominion of endless digital surveillance is not news. And yet, the sheer scale of the domination continues to defy our imaginative embrace. Virtually everything we do, everything we are, is transmuted now into digital information. Our movements in space, our breathing at night, our expenditures and viewing habits, our internet searches, our conversations in the kitchen and in the bedroom—all of it observed by no one in particular, all of it reduced to data parsed for the patterns that will predict our purchases.

Read the rest of this article at: The Atlantic

News 15.11.21 : Today’s Articles of Interest from Around the Internets

News 15.11.21 : Today’s Articles of Interest from Around the Internets

Sarah Jessica Parker is making the bed: With her back to me, she pulls the under sheet taut in swift, practiced gestures, fluffs up the pillows, and spreads the comforter just so, before stepping back to observe her handi­work. Suddenly sensing that I’ve entered the room, she whirls around and smiles. “Oh, hi!” she says. “I’m sorry, I just had to straighten up here.” Despite her glamorous looks—her blonde hair pulled back in a sleek bun and her full-skirted vintage dress worn over a leopard-print button-down, all accessorized with a pair of high, glittering block-heel pumps, a model from her SJP shoe line—she seems more than anything a diligent, efficient mom making sure things are under control at home. (“That bed thing is so her,” the Bravo host Andy Cohen tells me later of his good friend’s conscientiousness. “That bed needs to get made, and so she’s going to do it.”)

Parker, however, is not at the West Village town house that she shares with her husband, the actor Matthew Broderick, and their 12-year-old twin daughters, Tabitha and Loretta (the couple’s son, James Wilkie, recently left home for college), nor is the bed her own. It belongs to Carrie Bradshaw, the character Parker has been most closely associated with throughout her career. It is hard to overestimate the iconicity of Sex and the City, which ran on HBO for six seasons, between 1998 and 2004, and later yielded two movie sequels. For a generation of women, the show almost single-handedly defined, in ways both poignant and comedic, distressing and dazzling, what it means to navigate the challenges and triumphs of friendship, love, and career, through the interlocking stories of four best friends in turn-of-the-millennium NYC. “It was a show about glamorous women who often find themselves in unglamorous situations, and about how that’s not the end of the world,” the actor and writer Tavi Gevinson tells me. “Watching it in high school gave me my first glimpse into adulthood, into womanhood, into what it’s like to live in New York.”

Read the rest of this article at: Vanity Fair

The Balmoral in Chestnut

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I am leaning against a wall outside my secondary school in my home town of Canterbury, waiting for my mother to pick me up. She is late, as usual. I rest my head on the stone wall, which is obsidian smooth with the occasional sharp edge. I can feel a flinty knuckle of rock pressing into the base of my skull. I shift uncomfortably in my non-regulation high heels and watch the other parents come and go. I am irritated and worried I won’t have enough time to finish my GCSE coursework that evening. And then she arrives, and I slam the car door shut with more force than is needed.

Only I am no longer a sullen teenager and I am not in Canterbury. I am on my sofa in south London, walking the streets of my former home town on Google Street View. I drag and drop Pegman, the Street View icon, outside my old school. He flails for a moment before freefalling feet-first, and then I am a teenager, walking the passageways of my youth. I can feel the cold stones under my hand as I trace my palm along the wall. I spent so many afternoons waiting for my mother in this spot that it feels as if there is an imprint of me forever leaning there, a ghostlike presence for today’s students to bustle past.

Read the rest of this article at: The Guardian

News 15.11.21 : Today’s Articles of Interest from Around the Internets

News 15.11.21 : Today’s Articles of Interest from Around the Internets

There is a myth about human beings that withstands all evidence. It’s that we always put our survival first. This is true of other species. When confronted by an impending threat, such as winter, they invest great resources into avoiding or withstanding it: migrating or hibernating, for example. Humans are a different matter.

When faced with an impending or chronic threat, such as climate or ecological breakdown, we seem to go out of our way to compromise our survival. We convince ourselves that it’s not so serious, or even that it isn’t happening. We double down on destruction, swapping our ordinary cars for SUVs, jetting to Oblivia on a long-haul flight, burning it all up in a final frenzy. In the back of our minds, there’s a voice whispering, “If it were really so serious, someone would stop us.” If we attend to these issues at all, we do so in ways that are petty, tokenistic, comically ill-matched to the scale of our predicament. It is impossible to discern, in our response to what we know, the primacy of our survival instinct.

Here is what we know. We know that our lives are entirely dependent on complex natural systems: the atmosphere, ocean currents, the soil, the planet’s webs of life. People who study complex systems have discovered that they behave in consistent ways. It doesn’t matter whether the system is a banking network, a nation state, a rainforest or an Antarctic ice shelf; its behaviour follows certain mathematical rules. In normal conditions, the system regulates itself, maintaining a state of equilibrium. It can absorb stress up to a certain point. But then it suddenly flips. It passes a tipping point, then falls into a new state of equilibrium, which is often impossible to reverse.

Read the rest of this article at: The Guardian

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A series of sharp knocks on his driver’s side window startled Jason Burt awake.

It was the middle of the night on a Saturday in 2016. Burt was sleeping in his pickup truck in the parking lot of St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital in downtown Memphis, Tennessee, where his 5-year-old daughter was being treated for brain cancer. He’d driven more than 500 miles from his home in Central Texas to visit her.

A St. Jude security guard peered into the truck and asked Burt what he was doing. Burt explained that his daughter and her mother, his ex-girlfriend, were staying in the hospital’s free patient housing. But St. Jude provides housing for only one parent. Burt, a school bus driver making $20,000 a year, told the guard he couldn’t afford a hotel. The guard let the exhausted father go back to sleep.

St. Jude would do no more to find him a place to stay.

“They were aware of the situation,” Burt said. “I didn’t push anything. I was just grateful she was getting treated and I was doing what I needed to do.”

St. Jude is the largest and most highly regarded health care charity in the country. Each year, the Memphis hospital’s fundraisers send out hundreds of millions of letters, many with heart-wrenching photographs of children left bald from battling cancer. Celebrities like Jennifer Aniston and Sofia Vergara sing the hospital’s praises in televised advertisements. This year, St. Jude’s fundraising reached outer space. The SpaceX Inspiration4 mission in September included a former St. Jude patient as a crew member.

Read the rest of this article at: ProPublica

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