News 14.01.22 : Today’s Articles of Interest from Around the Internets


News 14.01.22 : Today’s Articles of Interest from Around the Internets
News 14.01.22 : Today’s Articles of Interest from Around the Internets
News 14.01.22 : Today’s Articles of Interest from Around the Internets

News 14.01.22 : Today’s Articles of Interest from Around the Internets

The climate crisis is set to profoundly alter the world around us. Humans will not be the only species to suffer from the calamity. Huge waves of die-offs will be triggered across the animal kingdom as coral reefs turn ghostly white and tropical rainforests collapse. For a period, some researchers suspected that insects may be less affected, or at least more adaptable, than mammals, birds and other groups of creatures. With their large, elastic populations and their defiance of previous mass extinction events, surely insects will do better than most in the teeth of the climate emergency?

Sadly not. At 3.2C of warming, which many scientists still fear the world will get close to by the end of this century (although a flurry of promises at Cop26 have brought the expected temperature increase down to 2.4C), half of all insect species will lose more than half of their current habitable range. This is about double the proportion of vertebrates and higher even than for plants, which lack wings or legs to quickly relocate themselves. This huge contraction in livable space is being heaped on to the existing woes faced by insects from habitat loss and pesticide use. “The insects that are still hanging in there are going to get hit by climate change as well,” says Rachel Warren, a biologist at the University of East Anglia, who in 2018 published research into what combinations of temperature, rainfall and other climatic conditions each species can tolerate.

Some insects, such as dragonflies, are nimble enough to cope with the creeping change. Unfortunately, most are not. Butterflies and moths are also often quite mobile, but in different stages of their life cycle they rely on certain terrestrial conditions and particular plant foods, and so many are still vulnerable. Pollinators such as bees and flies can generally move only short distances, exacerbating an emerging food security crisis where farmers will struggle to grow certain foods not just due to a lack of pollination but because, beyond an increase of 3C or so, vast swaths of land simply becomes unsuitable for many crops. The area available to grow abundant coffee and chocolate, for example, is expected to shrivel as tropical regions surge to temperatures unseen in human history.

Read the rest of this article at: The Guardian

In 1985, Régis Airault arrived in India to work as the resident doctor of psychology at the French consulate in Mumbai.

At the time, travelers from France, upon arriving in India, could visit the consulate to place their passport and return plane ticket into safe-keeping. Airault had the opportunity to speak to those travelers, often in their 20s or early 30s, soon after they landed in India. All were excited about their forthcoming travels.

But soon, Airault began noticing a curious condition in some of the French travelers, particularly among those who had spent longer periods of time in the country: a spectrum of behavioral and psychological changes that later became known as “India syndrome”. The condition has cousins around the world: religious tourists to Jerusalem are struck with a spontaneous psychosis upon visiting the city, certain that they are hearing God or in the presence of saints; visitors to Florence are physically overcome, even hallucinate, upon viewing the beauty of the city’s art.

In India, Airault would be dispatched to examine travelers who had lost their bearings, had become disoriented and confused, or had found themselves in manic and psychotic states. The contrast was shocking. “I would see them perfect when they arrive and after one month, I would see them totally unstable,” he recalls. Initially, what Airault observed was blamed solely on drug use, but many of the travelers were also exhibiting symptoms such as depression and isolation, stemming from a feeling of disorientation in an unfamiliar land or culture.

Read the rest of this article at: The Guardian

News 14.01.22 : Today’s Articles of Interest from Around the Internets

News 14.01.22 : Today’s Articles of Interest from Around the Internets

The Lord Mayor of Liverpool is wearing a nervous smile and a gold ceremonial chain the size of a saucer, the kind worn to greet royalty or a foreign dignitary—which feels appropriate, because it’s not every day you get a visit from the Egyptian king. It’s a cloudless fall day in the city, and star Liverpool forward Mohamed Salah has come to the town hall to film an interview with an Egyptian TV channel. The producers wanted somewhere aspirational, opulent, to film their national icon, and honestly they couldn’t have picked better. The building is ostentatiously beautiful, late Georgian, all Corinthian columns and gold-filigree cornicing and crystal ballroom chandeliers that the Lord Mayor, a tiny woman named Mary, informs me each weighs a ton. The staff buzzes around nervously, chattering in low voices while the cameras roll in the next room. Salah! Even Mary, an Everton fan—and thus a supporter of Liverpool’s most hated rivals—is excited. “I’m not a bitter Blue,” she whispers, because all rivalries aside, who doesn’t love Mohamed Salah?

In Egypt, where his life story is taught in schools, his nickname is the Happiness Maker. This is as much for his feats on the field—where he has in five seasons led a resurgent Liverpool to Premier League and Champions League titles, breaking umpteen records on the way—as his feats off it. He’s got that million-lumen smile; the Afro-beard combo; the whole wholesome, hardworking, family-man image. In Nagrig, the village in the Nile Delta north of Cairo where Salah grew up, his generosity is legendary: He has paid to build a school, a water-treatment plant, and an ambulance station there, and every month his foundation provides food and money to the destitute.

Tales of Salah’s beneficence occur so regularly that stories about it occasionally now crop up that aren’t even true, but because Salah almost never gives interviews, nobody is around to dispel them. Others are true but would seem fantastical if there wasn’t video and/or photographic evidence to confirm them, such as the time a bunch of assholes were picking on a homeless man at a Liverpool gas station, only for Salah to show up in his Bentley and defuse the situation, before giving the homeless guy money for somewhere to stay. (True.) Or the time that a thief stole 30,000 Egyptian pounds—about $1,900—from Salah’s father’s car, and the police caught the culprit, only for Salah to persuade his father not to press charges, and then actually give the thief money to help turn his life around. (Also true.) According to Stanford University researchers, Salah’s arrival at Liverpool in 2017 correlated with an 18.9 percent fall in hate crimes in the city; in Egypt, his involvement in a government antidrug campaign led to a fourfold increase in help-line calls. At this point it may not surprise you that at Egypt’s last presidential elections, in 2018, there were widespread reports of voters spoiling their ballots and writing in Salah’s name, despite the seemingly pertinent fact that he wasn’t running.

Finally, some double ballroom doors swing open and here comes Salah, in a black Haculla hoodie and jeans and MGSM sneakers, being mobbed by what must be two dozen of the film crew all attempting to get a selfie with their idol. Salah goes along with it, smiling even though it’s clearly a bit much, until eventually his agent intervenes and we take refuge in another equally splendid room that appears to be set up for a wedding. Salah sits down, hands in pockets, unfazed by it all. He is used to the adoration. “It’s something I wanted,” he says. “But not that much!”

Read the rest of this article at: GQ

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News 14.01.22 : Today’s Articles of Interest from Around the Internets

Exposition Park is located at the northern end of South Central, the point where the city starts to be carved up into block-by-block fiefdoms. Wander a few miles in any direction and you might encroach on turf claimed by Bloods, Crips, Treces, Varrio Nueva Estrada, 18th Street, Hoover Criminals, MS-13, or one of the deputy gangs in the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department, currently under investigation by the state of California.

On the cold Saturday evening of December 18, the 160-acre grounds are the site of a one-day music festival called Once Upon A Time in L.A., quite possibly the best (and likely the most expensive) concert bill ever booked within city limits. Tens of thousands gather in the shadows of the Memorial Coliseum, paying a minimum of $160 plus surcharges to see a lineup that blends the last 50 years of Southern California soundtracks: vintage lowrider soul (the Isley Brothers), ’90s G-Funk (Snoop Dogg), new millennium rap (YG), and that genre’s nascent next generation, much of which is creatively in debt to the West Coast’s most original stylist in a quarter-century, Drakeo the Ruler.

It had been a little over a year since the 28-year-old South Central rapper walked free from the Compton courthouse, swapping a black jail jumpsuit for designer clothes, dazzling jewelry, and blue-faced hundreds, having beaten first-degree murder charges that carried a possible life sentence. Drakeo and I first became close during this final, nearly three-year incarceration. At first, he kept calling in the hopes that I would tell the world about his wrongful persecution. But over hundreds of hours on the phone, the working relationship evolved into a deep friendship. Journalistic responsibilities became secondary to human ones. I’d never witnessed a miscarriage of justice so grave, so intimately.

Once Upon a Time in L.A. is slated to be Drakeo’s second official performance in L.A. since being released in November 2020. It’s the kind of dream he ritually imagined during those endless carceral midnights of the soul: a hometown show before adoring fans, a $50,000 payday, and the chance to prove that he is the best rapper in his city.

While waiting for Drakeo to go on, I watch Al Green sing about love and happiness. He clutches a red rose like a talisman, his teardrops-from-heaven falsetto fading in and out, weathered from stress and the slanders of time. It’s about 8:30 when Drakeo’s friend and producer Joog SZN tells me that it’s time to meet Drakeo and his younger brother, Ralfy the Plug, an innovative rapper in his own right.

Read the rest of this article at: Los Angeles Magazine

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