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News 14.02.22 : Today’s Articles of Interest from Around the Internets

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News 14.02.22 : Today’s Articles of Interest from Around the Internets
@lovisabarkman
News 14.02.22 : Today’s Articles of Interest from Around the Internets
@simonsonemanshow
News 14.02.22 : Today’s Articles of Interest from Around the Internets
@lovisabarkman

When I was twelve, in 1971, the walls of my bedroom in southern New Jersey were covered with full-page photographs of rail dragsters and “funny cars” with swollen engines which I carefully razor-bladed from hot-rod magazines. My older cousin Charlie Seabrook and his car, the Jersey Jimmy, were well known on the East Coast drag-racing circuit. On Saturdays in warmer weather, Charlie and his brother Larry would work on engines down the road from my family’s farm, and I would hang around and watch, in love with the words they used—which showed up a few years later in Springsteen lyrics like “Chrome-wheeled, fuel-injected, and steppin’ out over the line,” in “Born to Run,” and “Fuelie heads and a Hurst on the floor,” from “Racing in the Street,” a song about guys like Charlie, the “hot-rod angels / Rumbling through this Promised Land.”

My cousins tried to teach me about how the power train delivers torque to the wheels. But I was more interested in car guys—the engineer cowboys who raced their “suicide machines” on weekends. Dreaming of one day having that kind of power and independence myself, I built plastic models of the cars that decorated my walls alongside their drivers, a gallery of petrol gods I knew chiefly by aliases: the Snake, the Mongoose, the Flyin’ Hawaiian, and “Big Daddy” Don Garlits, King of the Dragsters.

Read the rest of this article at: The New Yorker

News 14.02.22 : Today’s Articles of Interest from Around the Internets

News 14.02.22 : Today’s Articles of Interest from Around the Internets

During my last year as director of the National Institute of Mental Health (NIMH), I was in Oregon, giving a presentation to a roomful of mental-health advocates, mostly family members of young people with a serious mental illness. During my tenure as the “nation’s psychiatrist,” the nickname for my role, I oversaw more than $20 billion for mental-health research, and I was eager to share evidence of the agency’s scientific success.

I clicked through my standard PowerPoint deck featuring high-resolution scans of brain changes in people with depression, stem cells from children with schizophrenia showing abnormal branching of neurons, and epigenetic changes as markers of stress in laboratory mice. We had learned so much! We were making so much progress!

While I could see heads nodding in the front row, a tall, bearded man in the back of the room wearing a flannel shirt appeared more and more agitated. When the Q&A period began, he jumped to the microphone. “You really don’t get it,” he said. “My 23-year-old son has schizophrenia. He has been hospitalized five times, made three suicide attempts, and now he is homeless. Our house is on fire and you are talking about the chemistry of the paint.” As I stood there somewhat dumbstruck, he asked, “What are you doing to put out this fire?”

My immediate responses were defensive: “Science is a marathon, not a sprint.” “We need to know more before we can do better.” “Be patient; revolutions take time.” But I knew he was right. There was a disconnect between the work that I was doing supporting brilliant scientists and dedicated clinicians and the challenges that faced more than 14 million Americans living, and dying, with serious mental illness.

The scientific progress in our field was stunning, but while we studied the risk factors for suicide, the death rate had climbed 33 percent. While we identified the neuroanatomy of addiction, overdose deaths had increased threefold. While we mapped the genes for schizophrenia, people with the disease were still chronically unemployed and dying 20 years early. Our science was looking for causes while the effects of these disorders were playing out with more death and disability, incarceration, and homelessness, and increasing frustration and despair for both patients and families. Indeed, many of the most refractory social issues of the decade—homelessness, incarceration, poverty—could be tracked, in part, to our nation’s failure to care for people with mental illness.

In 2015, I left the NIMH. Although I had trained as a psychiatrist and neuroscientist, I wanted to explore this gap between scientific progress and public-health impact as a journalist in search of solutions. Over the past five years, I’ve met health-care innovators, social entrepreneurs, and technology experts in the United States and abroad who shared ideas and projects that can make a difference for people with mental illness. I heard this refrain throughout: We are indeed in a crisis—a crisis of care. Mental illnesses are different from other illnesses, and our current approach is a disaster on many fronts. Mental-health care is not only delivered ineffectively but also accessed during a crisis and strategically focused only on relieving symptoms and not on helping people recover.

Read the rest of this article at: The Atlantic

I dive in. The water is cool against my skin, the silence absolute, and as I hover over the remains at the bottom of the sea, I feel peaceful, thankful, a sense of coming home.

Descend underwater with me—not too deep now, maybe only 20 feet or so—and you’ll see about 30 other divers, paired in sets of two. They calmly float in place, despite strong currents off the coast of Key Largo, Florida, sketching images of coral-encrusted artifacts or taking measurements. I am—we are—mapping the remains of a shipwreck.

Most of the divers are African American. We’re training as underwater archaeology advocates, gaining the skills necessary to join expeditions and help document the wreckage of slave ships being found around the world, ships such as the São José Paquete d’Africa in South Africa, the Fredericus Quartus and Christianus Quintus in Costa Rica, and the Clotilda in the United States. An estimated 12.5 million Africans were forced onto ships like these during the transatlantic slave trade from the 16th to the 19th centuries, according to Nafees Khan, a professor in the College of Education at Clemson University and adviser to the Trans-Atlantic Slave Trade Database.

“It took at least 36,000 voyages,” he says. One thousand or so ships likely sank.

Enter Diving With a Purpose, a group that trains divers to find and conserve historical and cultural artifacts buried deep in the waters. Since its founding in 2003, DWP has trained some 500 divers to help archaeologists and historians search for and document such ships. The group’s goal is to help Black folks, in particular, find their own history and tell their own stories.

Read the rest of this article at: National Geaographic

News 14.02.22 : Today’s Articles of Interest from Around the Internets

News 14.02.22 : Today’s Articles of Interest from Around the Internets

Or so it says in the memoir that Carter later published, with dialogue punched up by a friend. His actual journal includes a slightly less dramatic account, and neither version mentions that he and his patron entered the burial chamber illegally, well before the Egyptian authorities arrived. Recent histories have tried to balance the thrill of the find with its political context. The Egyptologist Toby Wilkinson, in his book “A World Beneath the Sands: The Golden Age of Egyptology” (Norton), presents Carter’s discovery and the deciphering of the Rosetta Stone, a hundred years earlier, as the bookends of a century of colonial contest for Egypt’s antiquities. Wilkinson chronicles the competition among England, France, and Germany—ostensibly to fill the British Museum, the Louvre, and the Neues Museum, respectively, but also for the right to appropriate the ancient past in their efforts to control the imperial future.

Yet scholarly sobriety can’t dim the treasures of the tomb: lapis-lazuli bracelets and nephrite rings; pectorals made from glass paste, gold, and silver; ornate leather armor and solid-gold sandals; walking canes and fainting couches; chariots, beds, and a fan of ostrich feathers; board games and musical instruments; jars of beer and wine. Later this year, the Egyptian government is slated to open, at last, the billion-dollar, nearly hundred-and-twenty-acre Grand Egyptian Museum complex, which will house all fifty-six hundred items together for the first time. For now, there’s “King Tutankhamun: The Treasures of the Tomb” (Thames & Hudson), by the former antiquities minister and controversial Egyptologist Zahi Hawass, a seemingly encyclopedic volume of the artifacts, with more than three hundred photographs and a series of foldout illustrations.

The scale of Tutankhamun’s riches is unrivalled because his was one of the only ancient tombs to be found nearly intact—or entirely intact, according to those who allege that Carter faked an ancient break-in as a way of circumventing a law that gave Egypt ownership over everything inside an unviolated tomb. (The putative incursion of early grave robbers allowed Carter to claim half the objects for his patron.) A popular National Geographic documentary series, “Tut’s Treasures: Hidden Secrets,” which premièred in 2018, devotes whole episodes to new research on just a few of the artifacts: an iron dagger, rare for the Bronze Age, revealed by X-ray fluorescence to likely have been fashioned from a meteorite; two tiny mummies, proved by genetic analysis to be Tut’s children, both stillborn; and the famous solid-gold funeral mask, heavier than a bowling ball but as delicate as snakeskin, thought by some experts to have been made for the Pharaoh’s stepmother, Nefertiti—it has pierced ears, which were more common for women—and then refashioned when he died unexpectedly.

Read the rest of this article at: The New Yorker

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Crumbling Core

Mark Zuckerberg is out of tricks.

Facebook has been “in crisis” before, but this time is different. This time the dilemma isn’t about the company’s reputation. It’s about Meta’s core Facebook business flailing and Wall Street punishing the company for that weakness. At the same time, Zuckerberg is trying to realize a distant metaverse dream for which he renamed the entire company. Meta is planning to spend billions to build a new reality that does not (and may never) exist in any meaningful way. And with the economy shifting, investors are looking for companies that look strong now, not ones that promise uncertain profits in the future.

The world has changed since Zuck built “The Facebook.” Antitrust and privacy regulators are watching Meta closely. To save itself, Meta should have focused on making its core business stronger and its existing platforms safer for this world. Instead, it is focused on building another one no one is excited about. If that doesn’t change, Zuckerberg is leading his epic dorm-room project turned multinational corporation down the path to ruin.

If you want to know how large the collective anxiety is over Meta’s future, look no further than its stock. February 3, the day after the company’s earnings, Meta’s stock dropped by over 26% and registered the largest single-day value wipeout in US history. All told, $240 billion was shaved off its market capitalization. It hasn’t gotten any prettier since: The stock is now down more than 30% over the past month and was worth $267 billion less then before earnings as of Wednesday’s market close. While this sell-off may seem extreme, it’s completely rational when you look at the company’s fundamentals.

Meta’s advertising product—which accounted for 97.4% of its 2021 revenue—simply isn’t as good as it used to be. The company admitted as much in its annual filing, saying that Apple’s decision to allow iPhone users to opt out of being tracked by advertisers has made Meta’s advertisements less precise and useful for ad buyers. The company estimated that the privacy changes could shave $10 billion off its advertising revenue in 2022. That problem isn’t going anywhere.

Read the rest of this article at: Business Insider

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