News 19.01.22 : Today’s Articles of Interest from Around the Internets


News 19.01.22 : Today’s Articles of Interest from Around the Internets
News 19.01.22 : Today’s Articles of Interest from Around the Internets
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News 19.01.22 : Today’s Articles of Interest from Around the Internets

This past October, Erick Calderon stood in front of a crowd in Marfa, the West Texas town beloved by artists, and attempted to explain, in a public town-hall meeting, his new venture: a gallery showcasing N.F.T. art. The Marfa gallery is the physical embodiment of Art Blocks, a virtual platform for N.F.T.s that Calderon launched a year ago. Since then, the platform has generated more than a hundred million dollars in sales of digital art.

Behind Calderon, a slide show flashed a picture of one of his own algorithmically generated art works, a rainbow-hued scribble known as the Chromie Squiggle, which he had released in an edition of ten thousand. “There’s a Chromie Squiggle that sold—and I just kind of laugh, because I think it’s completely insane—that sold from one collector to another three weeks ago for $3.2 million,” Calderon said.

Calderon, a newly minted multimillionaire, used words like “revolution” and “movement” to describe the nascent technology, which allows for the ownership—and, therefore, commodification—of digital objects. “We want to educate locals and visitors on the subject of creative coding,” he explained. “We want to celebrate the intersection of art and technology in a town that’s served as a home for innovation.”

Read the rest of this article at: The New Yorker

News 19.01.22 : Today’s Articles of Interest from Around the Internets

News 19.01.22 : Today’s Articles of Interest from Around the Internets

Recently I met the astronomer Pascal Oesch, an assistant professor at the University of Geneva. Professor Oesch and his colleagues share the distinction of having discovered the most distant known object, a small galaxy called GNz-11. That galaxy is so far away that its light had to travel for 13 billion years to get from there to here. I asked Professor Oesch if he felt personally connected to this tiny smudge on his computer screen. Does this faint blob feel like part of nature, part of the same world of Keats and Goethe and Emerson, where “vines that round the thatch-eves run; to bend with apples the moss’d cottage-trees”?

Oesch answered that he looks at such distant smudges every day. Sure, they’re part of the universe, he said. But consider the abstraction (thought I). A few exhausted photons of light from GNz-11 dropped on a photoelectric detector aboard a satellite orbiting Earth, produced a tiny electrical current that was translated into 0s and 1s, which were beamed to Earth in a radio wave. That information was then processed in data centers in New Mexico and Maryland and eventually landed on Professor Oesch’s computer screen in Geneva. These days, professional astronomers rarely look at the sky through the lens of a telescope. They sit at computer screens.

But not only astronomers. Many of us invest hours each day staring at the screens of our televisions and computers and smartphones. Seldom do we go outside on a clear night, away from the lights of the city, and gaze at the dark starry sky, or take walks in the woods unaccompanied by our digital devices. Most of the minutes and hours of each day we spend in temperature-controlled structures of wood, concrete, and steel. With all of its success, our technology has greatly diminished our direct experience with nature. We live mediated lives. We have created a natureless world.

Read the rest of this article at: The Atlantic

Photo Diary: A Little of Life Lately Autumn 2020

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They’re delicious, too, but there’s good food everywhere. Destination meals are different. They whisk travelers from their cooking routines and familiar takeout spots, drawing them out with flavors that can’t be replicated, service that can’t be matched, and most of all, a story that can’t be told elsewhere. The cities, islands, neighborhoods, and regions that top the list of places we want to eat in 2022 span the globe, from Guadalajara to Markham, Saint-Martin to Orange County — yes, that O.C. — and their cuisines range from nasi lemak to puffy tacos to conche Creole. But every single one offers a captivating narrative, a reason to visit right now. These stories are told by a diverse cast of chefs, home cooks, street hawkers, and restaurateurs, all people who make us excited to travel, cooking the foods that make us excited to eat.

There’s the Korean-born opera singer in Buenos Aires serving japchae con carne, the pizzaiolo baking wild-yeasted pies on a Berkshires farm, the self-proclaimed first Arab pitmaster smoking Texas-style brisket in Dubai, and the photographer plating omakase picnics on a golden Malaysian rice paddy. There’s the chatty couple splitting coconuts on a bustling Saint-Martin street corner, the refugees baking peanut butter curry cookies at a nonprofit outside Atlanta, the chef distributing katsu sandos around St. Louis from a tiny Japanese fire truck, and on and on.

Read the rest of this article at: Eater

News 19.01.22 : Today’s Articles of Interest from Around the Internets

News 19.01.22 : Today’s Articles of Interest from Around the Internets

For three weeks in November, I became addicted to the livestream video from a commercial courtroom in lower Manhattan, waking at 5:30 a.m. in my apartment in Los Angeles so I could be stationed at my laptop by 9 a.m. ET. My addiction wasn’t easily explained, because the dispute in this trial seemed extremely boring. Actually, it seemed like the most boring thing I could imagine: A rich guy was suing his former company for money that would make him even richer. Sometimes, when I clocked in at 5:50 a.m., I felt that I was subconsciously punishing myself. And that was in the rare moments when I could even see what was happening: Most of the time, the livestream was configured so that the speaker’s head appeared in a blurry corner of an otherwise all-black screen. Every so often, the feed would totally crash, and the trial would pause while the judge called the tech-support person to come downstairs and help him.

What kept me watching was that, beneath the arguments over money, another story was playing out. That story was the emotional drama between the parties: Sean Rad, the impulsive 35-year-old founder of Tinder, and Barry Diller, the 79-year-old yacht-riding media mogul. Rad had spent three years pursuing Diller through the court system, seeking money that Diller’s firms had allegedly stolen from him. The single-mindedness of Rad’s hunt and his refusal to take a settlement — most commercial cases are resolved without a jury entering the picture — had the unrelenting quality of a revenge quest, in which the protagonist doesn’t give up until he confronts the antagonist and kills him (or is killed by him). The only difference was that instead of shooting and dismemberment, the action took the form of witness testimony and courtroom motions by lawyers from white-shoe firms.

In 2018, Rad had filed a 55-page complaint against Diller’s media conglomerate, IAC, which at that time owned Tinder. According to the complaint, IAC had scammed Rad personally out of more than $1 billion. The mechanics of the alleged scheme were dark and shadowy, involving a monthslong financial conspiracy, doctored financial projections, secret meetings, and unscrupulous investment bankers. As I read through the case file, though, the alleged tactics began to intrigue me less than the broader picture that the lawsuit had inadvertently revealed. There were 2,500 documents in evidence. They introduced me to a story I’d never known about — the contest for ownership of the intellectual property that had changed the way a generation had sex and fell in love.

Read the rest of this article at: New York Magazine

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News 19.01.22 : Today’s Articles of Interest from Around the Internets

Chapter 1: The Unwitting Suspect

Roughly 24 hours before Larry Driskill confessed to a murder he claimed he couldn’t remember, a stranger in sharply creased cowboy clothes approached him at the barn where he was working. The metal star above the man’s left shirt pocket indicated he was a Texas Ranger.

Ranger James Holland replied, inviting Driskill to chat at the sheriff’s office in Parker County, Texas. As they cruised the rural back roads west of Fort Worth on that afternoon in January 2015, Holland made small talk, drawing out that Driskill, a 52-year-old grandfather with a salt-and-pepper mustache and good-ol-boy twang, had served in the Air Force. Now, he oversaw county maintenance work performed by jail trustees. His worst brush with the law, he said, was a DWI in his 20s.
Holland, who was secretly (and legally) recording this exchange, occasionally teased at his intentions: He said he was part of a small crew of Rangers who focused on unsolved murders. “They put us together…and tell us that we can do whatever we want, as long as we solve cases,” he says to Driskill on the recording, which I obtained through a records request to the Parker County district attorney.

Once they arrived at the sheriff’s office, Holland offered Driskill coffee and reiterated that he wasn’t under arrest. The Ranger pulled out an image of a petite woman with dirty blonde hair.

The woman was Bobbie Sue Hill. Nearly a decade before this conversation, kids had stumbled upon her body in a creek bed under a bridge, less than a mile from Driskill’s home. Investigators pieced together that she was a 29-year-old mother of five whose husband had died in a car accident. She had been struggling with drug addiction and subsisting in a series of squalid motels near downtown Fort Worth. Hill’s boyfriend told investigators that he had seen a man drive off with her in a white van.

In their reports, the police signalled this could be the work of a serial killer. Fort Worth officers were already looking into the death of another sex worker, who entered a white van seven months prior and was also found in a creek bed. A third woman had accepted a ride from a man in a white van, and narrowly escaped after he fondled her at knifepoint. But despite these promising parallels, the leads dried up. “The lack of physical evidence in this case is frustrating,” one investigator wrote in a 2006 report.

In the small, fluorescent-lit room, Holland told Driskill that police had recorded his license plate near where Hill was taken and put his name on a list of men who “troll prostitutes.” But perhaps Driskill was just a good Samaritan who had given Hill a ride the night she was killed.

Read the rest of this article at: The Marshall Project

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