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News 08.06.22 : Today’s Articles of Interest from Around the Internets

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News 08.06.22 : Today’s Articles of Interest from Around the Internets
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News 08.06.22 : Today’s Articles of Interest from Around the Internets
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News 08.06.22 : Today’s Articles of Interest from Around the Internets
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There is a stretch of coastline in southern Cornwall known for its dragons. The black ones are rare, the green ones rarer; even a dedicated dragon hunter can go a lifetime without coming across a single one. Unlike the dragons of European myth, these do not hoard treasure, cannot breathe fire, and, lacking wings, cannot fly. They are aquatic, in that they always arrive from the sea, and they are capable of travelling considerable distances. One was spotted, like Saoirse Ronan, on Chesil Beach; another made its home on the otherwise uninhabited Dutch island of Griend, in the Wadden Sea. Mostly, though, they are drawn to the windswept beaches of southwestern England—to Portwrinkle and Perranporth, to Bigbury Bay and Gunwalloe. If you want to go looking for these dragons yourself, it will help to know that they are three inches long, missing their arms and tails, and made by the Lego company.

Cornwall owes its dragon population to the Tokio Express, a container ship that sailed from Rotterdam for North America in February of 1997 and ran into foul weather twenty miles off Land’s End. In heavy seas, it rolled so far abeam that sixty-two of the containers it was carrying wrenched free of their fastenings and fell overboard. One of those containers was filled with Lego pieces—to be specific, 4,756,940 of them. Among those were the dragons (33,427 black ones, 514 green), but, as fate would have it, many of the other pieces were ocean-themed. When the container slid off the ship, into the drink went vast quantities of miniature scuba tanks, spearguns, diving flippers, octopuses, ship’s rigging, submarine parts, sharks, portholes, life rafts, and the bits of underwater seascapes known among Lego aficionados as LURPs and BURPs—Little Ugly Rock Pieces and Big Ugly Rock Pieces, of which 7,200 and 11,520, respectively, were aboard the Tokio Express. Not long afterward, helicopter pilots reported looking down at the surface of the Celtic Sea and seeing “a slick of Lego.” (As with “fish,” “sheep,” and “offspring,” the most widely accepted plural of “Lego” is Lego.) Soon enough, some of the pieces lost overboard started washing ashore, mostly on Cornish beaches.

Read the rest of this article at: The New Yorker

In 1998, as part of an ambitious marketing campaign for their line of “Beat” watches, Swatch proposed a total overhaul of the global timing system. It involved abolishing time zones and establishing a new meridian located at their headquarters in Biel, Switzerland, from which time would be measured not in 24 hours, but in 1,000 “beats” after midnight — each one equivalent to about a minute and 26.4 seconds. Among others, Nicholas Negroponte, founder and then-director of the MIT Lab, attended the launch. “Now is now and the same time for all people and places,” Negroponte was quoted on the Swatch Internet Time website. “Cyberspace has no seasons. The virtual world is absent of night and day. Internet Time is not driven by the sun’s position, it is driven by yours — your location in space and time.”

While this notion of the internet’s independence from organized time persists, the excitement surrounding it does not. Recent years have seen a wave of research lamenting the effects of internet usage on sleep patterns and eating habits. As the authors of A Very Short Introduction to Circadian Rhythms explain, we are living through a time of “Great Circadian Disruption,” in which sleeping patterns and bodily demands are increasingly divorced from natural stimuli. The reign of the clockface — and of the astronomical rhythms it approximates — has ostensibly ended, giving way to a soup of digital time in which timecodes persist as a way of organizing an endless flow of information, rather than referring us back to a world outside of the screen. Our relationship to the elusive flow of “natural time” is presumed to be in crisis, just like our relationship to the wider “natural world.”

“Natural time,” however, proves difficult to define: Is it the regimented rhythm of the clockface, or is it the movement of the moon and stars that governed social rhythms before it? Temporal ideals emerge as ghosts of what has been lost in the digital age, paving the way for a range of additional technologies — including SAD Lamps, blue-light filters, smart watches and time-specific social media such as BeReal — that promise to help users calibrate their rhythms with an imagined standard. In seeking an objective sense of time to structure our experiences of the internet, we ignore the fact that time is fundamentally relative. We need new ways of theorizing time in the digital age, which don’t presume the existence of a static, natural relationship to time, common to all.

Read the rest of this article at: Real Life

Two hundred seems like an almost luxuriantly expansive number when you’re making an albums list, and in any other genre, maybe it would be. But the history of rap LPs is so rich and varied, we were forced to make some painful choices — there are so many iconic artists with deep catalogs, so many constantly evolving sounds and regional scenes. That’s one reason we limited our scope to English language hip-hop. Relatedly, a list of hip-hop-adjacent albums from the worlds of dancehall or reggaeton or grime would be fun and fascinating, and something for us to revisit down the road.

When confronted with a choice between the third (or fourth or fifth) record by a classic artist (Outkast, for instance, or A Tribe Called Quest) and an album from an artist who would make the list more interesting (The Jacka or Saba or Camp Lo), we tended to go with the latter option. The result was a list that touches on every important moment in the genre’s evolution — from compilations that honor the music’s paleo old-school days, to its artistic flourishing in the late Eighties and early Nineties with Public Enemy, De La Soul, Eric B. and Rakim and others, through the gangsta era, the rise of the South, the ascendance of larger-than-life aughts superstars like Jay-Z and Kanye West and Nicki Minaj, and on and on into more recent moments like blog-rap, emo-rap, and drill, from New York to L.A. to Houston to Chicago, and beyond.

As we dug and listened, we found ourselves a little less swayed by “golden age” mystique than we might’ve been had we done this list 10 or 15 years ago. One of the incredible things about hip-hop is that it evolves and expands faster than any other genre in music history. To a fan coming up in the era of Cardi or Tyler or Polo G or Playboi Carti, the golden age is now.

Read the rest of this article at: RollingStone

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The sun had just set. Darkness surrounded the glow from the gaslights at the railway station in the town of Fairbank, Arizona. Located in Cochise County, the town owed its existence to the railroad. Fairbank was the closest rail stop to the more bustling Tombstone, less than 10 miles to the east. While Fairbank did not have many houses, the town boasted a one-room schoolhouse and a fancy hotel for the train passengers. A large building near the train station housed a restaurant and a general store.

That night a New Mexico & Arizona line train was expected from the city of Nogales, 60 miles farther down the line. Gold and coins from Mexico were often shipped north aboard this train.

A small crowd milled about on the platform, talking and laughing. People from the town liked to come down to the station when the trains came in to watch the big steam engine and taste the adventure and romance of the railroad.

A few onlookers were drunk. A cowboy lay sprawled up against the station building, apparently asleep. Another cowboy hung onto a support post to keep his balance, giggling and twirling around. A third sat on a bench, leaning up against a post. His hat had a blue feather in the brim. Two other inebriated cowboys, who were brothers, were arguing loudly close to the tracks north of the platform. They were half-heartedly shoving each other and arguing.

Sheriff Thomas Brodrick of nearby Santa Cruz County happened to be on the platform, waiting for a friend to arrive on the train. He noted the argument off to his right and ignored it, except to smile in amusement. It wasn’t his county, so it wasn’t his problem.

The train whistle was heard in the distance and soon the chugging sound of the engine could be heard.Within minutes, the whistle was loud enough for people to cover their ears. Moments later, the big locomotive was rolling into the light from the station. The two brothers off to the side of the platform stopped arguing and walked together toward the train as the engine pulled up beside them.

Unseen by them, inside the train, a man lounged against the door frame of the express car, where valuable cargo was kept, as the train came to a stop. Jeff Milton was the “express messenger,” the term for a guard who accompanied shipments of money.

Milton, 39, worked for Wells Fargo, the prominent Western bank. He was tall with short, dark hair and a Van Dyke beard, a popular style that was short and sharp. He was wearing a white shirt with a high, stiff collar that was unbuttoned with no tie. His fleece lined leather jacket hung open, exposing the fact that he had no gun on him. With the door opened, the Wells Fargo messenger was ready to start offloading the mail to the station manager.

The other three drunken cowboys on the platform suddenly seemed awake and sober as they regarded the express car guard. Expletives spoken softly shocked the people next to them. The three appeared somewhat hesitant, perhaps reconsidering their secret purpose.

But the brothers, closer to the train, were quickly aboard the steam engine with guns drawn. One of the cowboys on the platform fired at Milton, shattering the bone at the elbow of his left arm. He fell, leaving his revolver out of reach, but he still had a chance to defend himself; a loaded shotgun was propped against the door, a few feet away. The three cowboys still on the platform charged straight at the express car. Despite the excruciating pain in his left arm, Milton scrambled over to the shotgun, cocked it and fired into the belly of the bandit in front. The buckshot spread out from the gun muzzle, multiple pellets hitting the robber. The bandit behind the injured man had turned away at the sight of the shotgun, but one of the pellets hit him in the buttock.

Read the rest of this article at: Truly* Adventurious

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News 08.06.22 : Today’s Articles of Interest from Around the Internets

It was 3:15 on the morning of June 26, 1980, and Congressman Bob Livingston was extraordinarily drunk, hiding in the congressional gym beneath the Rayburn House Office Building, petrified that a team of highly trained right-wing homosexual assassins working on behalf of Ronald Reagan was about to kill him.

To the extent that the Louisiana Republican is remembered today, it’s for the brief but sensational role he played in America’s most infamous political sex scandal. On the same day in December 1998 that Bill Clinton was impeached for lying about his affair with a White House intern, Livingston, then the House speaker-designate, shocked the nation with his own admission of adultery. Preempting a journalistic exposé that had dredged up evidence of his past relationships with women not his wife, he not only refused the speakership but announced his resignation from Congress altogether.

What people don’t know is that nearly two decades before this bit part in the Clinton impeachment drama riveted the nation, Livingston was at the center of another scandal involving politicians and illicit sex, one that, in his own words, had the potential to be “world-shaking.” Most explosive about this whole terrible intrigue, and what tied it all together, was the nature of the sexual activity involved.

For most of the 20th century, the worst thing one could possibly be in American politics was gay. The mere insinuation of homosexuality was sufficient to destroy a political career, and things could get particularly vicious between intraparty adversaries. The first outing in American politics, of the isolationist Massachusetts Sen. David Walsh in 1942, was perpetrated by interventionist allies of fellow Democrat, President Franklin D. Roosevelt. While public attitudes have become far more open, the insinuation that someone is gay — whether true or not — remains a potent weapon (as elements of the campaign against North Carolina Republican Rep. Madison Cawthorn recently illustrated), especially in socially conservative milieus.

This account of the alleged “homosexual ring” that controlled Ronald Reagan, and the efforts to expose it on the eve of the 1980 Republican National Convention that nominated him for the presidency, is compiled from interviews with several of the surviving participants and documents uncovered in the papers of former Washington Post Executive Editor Ben Bradlee. Appropriately for a story involving what was once considered the gravest sin in American politics, it has never been told until now.

Read the rest of this article at: Politico

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